Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) wants to be ahead of the latest developments in the payment solutions industry. The online retail giant is determined to grab the pay-by-selfie patent, a facial recognition method to send a picture of your face to authenticate and confirm payments.
Amazon.com, Inc Wants You to Pay by Selfie
Will anyone ever dispute that Amazon tries anything possible to satisfy its customers? If the latest patent application is any hint then the obvious answer is no. Amazon tries anything possible.
According to a new patent application, picked up by the tech blog Re/code, Amazon is looking at ways to adopt facial recognition technology as part of its method of payments. The ecommerce titan revealed details that it will enable customers to send the firm a picture or a video of their face to authenticate payments, which some argue is a lot more secure than a password.
As part of the authentication process, a computer or a smartphone will “prompt the user to perform certain actions, motions, or gestures, such as a smile, blink, or tilt his or her head.” This is meant to verify that the customer is who they claim to be.
Moving forward, Amazon will want selfie authentication to be the only way to authorize a purchase. The company believes that entering a password requires customers to turn away from their friends and co-workers, which is described as being “embarrassing” and “awkward.”
The website hasn’t commented on the news.
Amazon isn’t the only one experimenting with pay-by-selfie technology. This summer, Canadian MasterCard holders will be permitted to pay for their online purchases with a selfie or a fingerprint rather than a password. They’ll just have to download an app.
Following a successful pilot project in the Netherlands, MasterCard said it is rolling out the technology in Canada, the U.S. and in various parts of Europe. The credit card giant says paying with selfies and fingerprints, also known as biometrics payments, are more secure than passwords and a lot more convenient for the consumer.
Is Amazon.com, Inc Facilitating the End of the Password?
Is Amazon leading the charge to kill the password or is it just one of many active participants in a quest to end the password?
There is no doubt that many tech firms and startups have begun testing out new alternatives to the password. Apps are even becoming password-free. So what exactly is the other option? Turning your smartphone into a digit key.
An array of firms and mobile apps are installing fingerprint scanners, digit key verification systems and anything else that can aid the demise of the username and password.
Some of the big banks have become so impressed with biometrics technology that they are looking to replace ATM cards. You simply walk over to an ATM and use your phone to access your bank account.
What should be noted is that killing the password isn’t being done by corporations with extra dollars to spend. They’re doing it to satisfy a demand and make the Internet and shopping experience easier and more secure.
In 2014, researcher Cormac Herley of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) released a report that showed that if the online world’s two billion users spent five seconds each day typing in passwords then that would amount to close to 1,400 many years daily. He noted that using a cost-benefit models shows users are likely to shun security advice because it requires time and effort to replace their existing passwords and replace it with a more advanced one.
Matthew Green, an assistant professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, made the point to the Wall Street Journal that passwords are useless.
“We know that the most popular passwords are all pretty much garbage,” said Green. “People tend to pick the less secure passwords in the largest numbers, so passwords are a bad idea from a security point of view.”
Despite his cynical view of passwords, he doesn’t think they’re going away anytime soon: “I think these things are neat ideas, but they’re too flaky right now for us to really rely on them. There are too many false negatives and false positives [regarding authentication].”
We’re coming up with many ways to pay for our coffee, clothing and can openers. Our heartbeats, veins and wrists are all soon going to be used to buy stuff. It’s just a matter of time.