Do we need another reason for people to stare at themselves on smartphones? Amazon thinks so. The company’s latest patent would allow your kisser to be a means of biometric identification for purchasing goods on its site.
Amazon’s reasoning is that not only can passwords be stolen, but it’s awkward to turn away from a friend to type one. Furthermore, a small keyboard is cumbersome if you fingers are too damn big. The patent also mentions how consumers have resorted to using password apps that automatically input saved passwords at prompts, but losing the phone could put all those passwords in jeopardy.
Well Amazon has come to the rescue because not only is it bringing more security to the process, you get to look at yourself more often. Discovered by Re/code, the “Image Analysis for User Authentication” patent will require you to look into the front-facing camera on your smartphone or computer to verify that it’s actually you when making a purchase.
We have to give kudos to Amazon on this one because its idea is more secure than previous implementations of facial recognition. Amazon wants to make sure that its actually a human attempting to verify a purchase.
When setting up your image for the first time, Amazon might require multiple images, and even a video, to understand certain movements. You could be asked to make motion gestures like a smile or a blink of an eye. Later, when you verify a purchase, you’ll make that same gesture and the software will be able to determine if it’s the real version of you.
Past renditions of facial recognition software could be easily spoofed with a picture of the person, but the use of motion gestures would obviously put an end to that.
Amazon also mentions a few other tricks that can be used to detect if its actually you. Pictures are two-dimensional (2D), but the real you is three-dimensional (3D). The use of infrared or depth sensors, or even a thermal imaging approach, could be used to detect if the face being presented is actually 3D.
This new approach could be more secure than a password for Amazon purchases, but we’re not sure if it will be less awkward. Amazon’s argument that you have to turn away to enter a password might not seem as awkward as, “Hold on a sec, I have to take a selfie of myself because I’m running low on Corn Flakes.”