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article imageMasterCard wants to replace passwords with selfies and speech

By James Walker     Jul 5, 2015 in Technology
Card provider MasterCard has begun a trial of a new technology that could see its customers verifying purchases with a quick selfie as opposed to a password. The aim is to make something "cool" that is quicker and easier than a password.
T3 reports the company will soon be commencing a small pilot program with 500 of its customers. If it proves to be successful then it may be expanded to more users in the future.
It works through an app that connects to the checkout pages of shopping services. When you place an order, the MasterCard app launches to verify the payment. The user only has to blink in their phone's front camera to confirm the transaction.
The blink is enforced to increase the security of the technology. It prevents thieves and criminals from showing a photo of your face to confirm a transaction on your phone in the event that it is ever stolen.
MasterCard's Ajay Bhalla told CNN: "The new generation, which is into selfies … I think they'll find it cool. They'll embrace it."
Using the facial recognition system does not send MasterCard a photo of you. Instead, it generates a code representing a map of your face and uses that for the verification procedures. It is apparently not possible for an image of the face to be constructed from the transmitted data.
Some security experts are still concerned though. They argue the data should never leave the user's phone and there is no need for MasterCard to store it themselves.
Robert M. Lee of Dragos Security told CNN: "I understand why they'd want that data, but no, I do not like it. From a privacy aspect it's awful -- but from a business perspective, I don't understand why they'd accept that risk."
There is an alternative option to the selfie recognition system. MasterCard will be enabling fingerprint support on devices equipped with the required sensors and it is also working to provide voice recognition — where you could verify a payment by speaking a defined phrase — for the future.
More about Security, Password, authentication, Verification, Payment
 
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