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Would you give up some security if face unlock worked with a face mask on?

What if your phone could recognize your face with a mask on, even if it meant slightly compromised security?

Published onApril 29, 2020

Woman wearing facemask 1

It’s the end of April 2020, and we’re all doing our best to adjust to the new normal of social distancing and wearing face masks wherever we go. Companies around the world are pivoting their business models to create face masks for those who need them. It’s really great to see!

There’s one little annoyance, though, regarding the use of face masks with our 2020 smartphones. For most phones, face recognition won’t work if you’re wearing a mask. That can be a problem for many people now that we’re all expected to wear masks at the store, or, most importantly, at our jobs. People who wear masks all day every day might need to get into their phones frequently, but it’s harder to do so with a mask on.

A few years ago, just about every smartphone maker made a big deal about getting rid of the wonderful fingerprint sensor and replacing it with face recognition biometrics. I get it, face unlock is more convenient and secure than using a fingerprint sensor in many cases.

So, now we’re living in a world where our smartphones can’t recognize our faces with masks on. That’s hardly the biggest issue in society right now. But what if your phone could recognize your face, mask and all, if it meant slightly compromised security?

Would you sacrifice security if it meant your phone’s face unlock would work with a face mask?
— Android Authority (@AndroidAuth) April 29, 2020

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling for all smartphone makers to diminish the security of their devices just so people can get into their phones easier. But what if the opportunity was presented to you? Would you allow the face unlock system on your phone to be less secure if it meant you could use it with a face mask? Or would you keep it the way it is right now and be forced to use a passcode while you wear your face mask?

Be sure to cast your vote in the poll above, and tell me in the comments why you voted the way you did. Keep it civil, folks!