Apple’s Touch ID rules may be designed to protect human rights

"I spoke to Geoffrey King, the technology program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists, a group devoted to reducing the danger to reporters worldwide and publicizing jailed and missing writers. Journalists and activists often receive the brunt of a government’s worst behavior in the interests in shutting them up and shutting them down. “We protect the people who anger everybody else,” King noted.

He couldn’t sort out the new eight-hour limitation, but he noted that any incremental, default change that improves the overall security of someone’s personal data is a positive. “Although it’s hard to quantify, this is likely to have an impact on journalists’ safety and we welcome this move,” he said.

King notes that in parts of the world, a reporter may be picked up by authorities and be asked to unlock their device. “It might be a polite request, but it’s a polite request backed up by the imminent threat of brutality,” he said. In those cases, it’s unclear whether a lockout would help, as someone may be subject to the same risk when they don’t provide a passcode that can be typed in."