On my Xiaomi Mi 5X, after installing one of the BETA weekly updates, a new feature appeared: unlocking the phone with facial recognition, iPhone X style.
Intrigued, I immediately activated it, but I had with very low expectations: while on iPhone X there is a 3D scanner that can recognize an “alive” face from a photo, on other phones is much more “basic”, since it uses the front camera.
Anyway, I do not have anything important on the phone, so the possibility that someone else can unlock the phone by showing a picture of me is not a big deal.
I immediately saw how convenient it was: I raise the phone, the screen turns on automatically, I look at it, it unlocks. Fantastic. Indeed, better than iPhone X, because you do not have to swipe your finger to confirm, and anyway, I could always unlock via fingerprint on the back sensor! The best of both worlds!
Then one evening I went out and the phone unlocked in an almost completely dark room. Wow, in this room it’s so dark that I can not recognize people with my own eyes, how the phone could manage this?. Then I thought… an iPhone X uses some kind of Kinect (Apple acquired the company that invented the Kinect sensor a few years ago) and manages to see in 3D in absolute darkness, while my phone uses a common photo sensor, not able to see in the dark.
I tried the recognition on an Asian face and it unlocked! I had low expectations on security, but I did not imagine that he was totally incapable of distinguishing an Asian face from a European face!
I immediately disabled it…