Facial and Touch Recognition for User Authentication

Although it sounds futuristic, the technology used for facial and touch recognition
has existed for some time now and is constantly being refined.  Depending on what devices a company or customer uses, the technology may already be in the palm of a person’s hand.


According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, facial recognition technology is still a new concept, even though it was developed in the 1960s. There are two main components of face recognition, including geometric and photometric. Geometric studies features while photometric depends on how it is viewed. Even though the technology exists and continues to advance, there are accuracy issues. However, the government and companies that want to use the technology have the power to advance it.   

Touch recognition is more accessible than face recognition to companies and consumers. Apple is an example of a company that is using the technology. If a consumer has an iPhone 5 or newer, an iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3, it is possible to implement the finger recognition on a device.  Choosing a passcode is still required in setting up the fingerprint recognition on an Apple device though.  

The safeguarding capability of fingerprint technology is much higher. According to Apple, since fingerprints are unique it is rare that even a small part of different fingerprints have enough similarity to Touch ID match. The combination of a fingerprint and passcode increases protection against theft.   

“The probability of this happening is 1 in 50,000 for one enrolled finger,” stated. “This is much better than the 1 in 10,000 odds of guessing a typical 4-digit passcode.”

While facial and touch recognition opens up new possibilities for ongoing user authentication, these applications can not currently serve for identity verification (since there are currently no trusted sources to reference data points against).  It will be important for companies to remember that ongoing authentication is just component of preventing identity fraud, and incorporate such authentication into a broader fraud prevention plan that includes initial verification of identity.

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