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Will Facebook's Latest Acquisition Push Biometrics into the Mainstream?

by Trusted Contributor on ‎06-27-2012 06:00 AM

Biometrics, which uses unique markers such as fingerprints, iris or retina patterns, voice waves, DNA, or facial patterns, is a technology that’s been around for a few decades to enable identification, authentication, and access control. Currently, some banks employ “palm reading” security technology, such as Fujitsu’s PalmSecure, to recognize customers at ATMs, while other companies and even governments are investing heavily in similar “faceprint” tools.

 

One such company showing not only faith, but now a stake in the biometrics game is Facebook. Though Facebook had been licensing services from facial recognition firm, Face.com, for some time, it decided to up the ante and go for an all-out acquisition of the firm this month. The Face.com software facilitates photo tagging by scanning uploaded photos and then automatically identifying the faces of your friends who are in those photos so that you can more easily opt to tag them if you so choose. In a sense, it’s cool. In another, depending on how often your face is being tagged, it has the potential of becoming a bit of a privacy and management headache in terms of keeping up with which photos you do and don’t want to appear online.

 

Still, with Facebook now in the picture, it will be interesting to see what happens next. Have we seen a shift that will send biometrics more quickly into the mainstream? Will we start to see expanded use cases? Will facial recognition software eventually be as common as or even replace passwords? Will it become the way to authenticate you to your online banking connection, etc.? Or will it just bring more privacy concerns to the forefront?

 

In a world where security threats abound and identity theft is a growing concern, you can make a strong case for needing the best authentication practices or technologies available. But which side of the authentication and privacy coin does facial recognition appear on?

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