Amazon has filed a patent application for a technology which would allow consumers to authenticate transactions via selfie or video. As part of the verification process, the computer or mobile device will prompt the user to ‘perform certain actions, motions or gestures, such as to smile, blink, or tilt his or her head.’
Amazon claims that the introduction of facial recognition technology (FRT) will make transactions more user friendly and secure than conventional identification methods, such as passwords which can be stolen and hacked.
The e-commerce giant added that the new technology would remove the hassle of entering in passwords on tiny mobile device screens.
‘The entry of these passwords on portable devices is not user friendly in many cases, as the small touchscreen or keyboard elements can be difficult to accurately select, and can require the user to turn away from friends or co-workers when entering a password, which can be awkward or embarrassing in many situations,’ read the patent application.
Amazon is not the first company to show interest in FR software for authentication. At CeBIT last year, Alibaba chairman Jack Ma demonstrated Alipay’s recognition technologies – using a selfie as payment ID. He argued that buying things online is ‘always a big headache’ for consumers – “You forget your password, you worry about your security. Today we show you a new technology.”
This month Google also revealed that it was running a trial in San Francisco which allows smartphone users on Android and iOS to pay for products via FR, without even having to remove their mobiles from their pockets. Pali Bhat, senior director of product management at Google, explained: ‘This process uses an in-store camera to automatically confirm your identity based on your Hands Free profile picture.’
Earlier this year, MasterCard too announced its plans to invest in FRT in the UK, in an effort to reduce false decline transactions and increase security for mobile payments. In the roll-out users will be able to choose between finger scanning and FR for verification, instead of traditional passwords and PIN codes.