May 26, 2011

RecognizeMe unlocks your jailbroken iPhone using your face

We don't often jailbreak our iPhones to test apps, but a facial recognition unlock tool seemed a worthy excuse, so we gave it a shot. RecognizeMe uses the front-facing camera in your iPhone 4 (and iPad 2, eventually) to unlock the phone for its owner. Unfortunately, it also unlocked the device for Brian Heater (center), our resident 900 number enthusiast, and Bianca Bosker, Huff Po's tech editor and our only other friend in the newsroom. The app includes a setting for verification threshold, so we played around with that, trying a dozen times to get the app to ignore Brian, but even at 80 percent it was recognizing both of us (65 percent was the cutoff for Bianca). Bumping the threshold up to 100 percent finally locked Brian out, but at that level, the device wouldn't unlock for anyone, making it totally secure -- and totally busted. Verification took a full 25 seconds to timeout (compared to 5-15 seconds to grant access at lower levels, depending on lighting conditions), so using this app requires p-a-t-i-e-n-c-e. At this point, RecognizeMe is a $7 gimmick that might impress your grandmother (assuming she doesn't ask to try it herself), but if you need to keep your device under lock and key, a tried-and-true passcode is still the way to go.
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