Your Face is your ID

I remember when I was young watching scifi films and the futuristic person would just look at this screen for them to know who they were and magically identify them and allow access. The scary thing is that is fast not just becoming scifi but reality – after all how can it be scifi if CSI regularly regular features facial recognition, writes David Parker

I remember when I was young watching sci-fi films and the futuristic person would just look at this screen for them to know who they were and magically identify them and allow access. The scary thing is that is fast not just becoming sci-fi but reality – after all how can it be scifi if CSI regularly regular features facial recognition, writes David Parker

In September it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security in the US is testing a system called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System (BOSS). It takes stereoscopic images obtained through pairs of cameras and sends them back to a remote matching system and compares them with images in a database. It is understood that the system is capable identifying images of an individual at 50-100 meters away.

Okay sure this has great potential for security, identifying terrorists etc, but in in July there came word that the Finnish company Uniqul patented and tested a new payment system that depends entirely upon facial recognition. You use a service, then look into a camera. The system recognizes your face and takes payment from your registered account/card.

Sure it raises a lot of questions:

  • Privacy, who has your picture, what you link it to;
  • How do you give your permission for funds to be taken (a nod and a wink?), and
  • The security itself of the images, hey your face becomes a PCI compliant piece of data!

Of course the real question is no matter where the technology can go to and is capable of will consumers accept it. Will a consumer be willing just by smiling at a camera to make a payment.