Deepfake can’t unlock iPhone because of 3D tech

Deepfakes are two-dimensional, which is why deepfake videos or images cannot be used to unlock a smart device.

Deepfakes, manipulated images or videos that duplicate or digitally alter a face or body, are becoming increasingly popular — and have been used to spread false information online.

Some altered media may seem harmless, like videos showing celebrities performing stunts. In other cases, this content could have nefarious intent – ​​for example, if a world leader’s picture is copied for political or propaganda purposes.

But is the technology so advanced that it could actually steal a person’s identity and unlock a personal device? A Science Focus article asked this question, and some have claimed that deepfakes could unlock a phone and steal a person’s identity.


Can a deepfake unlock a device with facial recognition?



That's wrong.

No, a deepfake cannot unlock a smart device that uses facial recognition. These devices use 3D biometric technology that a deepfake could not replicate.


Deepfakes are created using artificial intelligence technologies that can replace or synthesize faces, speech, or emotional expressions.

Deepfakes can be created using images or previously recorded video of the subject. For example, this deepfake of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was created using images taken from his previous press conferences, but his head and body were manipulated to fabricate a speech he never delivered.

TIED TOGETHER: No, the video of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy calling for surrender is not real. It’s a deepfake

Although deepfakes can be deceiving to the naked eye, they are not advanced enough to deceive facial recognition software. Deepfake videos and images are two-dimensional, which is why they cannot be used to unlock a smartphone such as an Android or Apple device.

Face ID, the technology developed by Apple that enables facial recognition, captures “accurate facial data by projecting and analyzing thousands of invisible points to create a depth map of your face, and also captures an infrared image of your face.” Infrared technology helps your phone’s camera capture facial features that may not be visible to the naked eye.

“Face ID automatically adapts to changes in your appearance, such as B. wearing cosmetic make-up or growing facial hair. If you make a major change in your appearance, e.g. For example, when you shave a beard, Face ID will use your passcode to verify your identity before updating your facial data. Face ID is designed to work with hats, scarves, glasses, contacts, and many pairs of sunglasses. What’s more, it’s designed to work indoors, outdoors, and even in total darkness.

Samsung also says it uses similar technology that scans and maps a face onto its devices. Some of Google’s phones use facial recognition technology in the same way.

Siwei Lyu, Ph.D., director of the UB Media Forensic Lab at SUNY Buffalo and deepfake expert, told VERIFY that mapping and biometric technology prevent deepfakes from being able to unlock devices.

“What the [deepfake] Algorithm can only create 3D presence. And that’s used to unlock an iPhone,” Lyu said. “This three-dimensional information is what the fake algorithm cannot currently replicate.”

Lyu said that currently the only way for someone to unlock a smartphone with facial recognition is to 3D print someone’s face, but every contour, movement and facial feature – like the line of your nose on your face – would have to be identical.

Lyu added that deepfake mainly refers to digital media and not a physical object. So if someone tried to create a 3D representation of someone’s face to steal their identity, it wouldn’t be treated as a deepfake, it would be treated as a face fake, like a clone.

More from VERIFY: How to spot manipulated videos, including deepfakes and shallowfakes

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