Facial Recognition for Access

Facial Recognition Software
Access Granted Credit: Wired

One of the slight annoyances in my work, entirely my fault, is leaving my access pass somewhere else, and having to wait for a friendly colleague to tailgate. How do they ensure who I am? Facial recognition of course.

Of course this is embarrassing at best, and in remote offices can be frustrating at worst. Often I’ll have to sign for a Temporary Pass to get into an office.

Insecurity Through Scale

Then there’s the ridiculous number of systems, even within an Enterprise, that don’t use SSO (Single Sign On). The number of websites have a login for numbers in the hundreds.

Which is one reason the iOS fingerprint reader is so powerful. It’s two factor, combining something I have (the iPhone) with something I am (the fingerprint) to authenticate me to any number of systems, and shortly, payments.

But there are times, most times actually, but let’s keep it to handsfree times, when you need authenticated access to information and you don’t have the time, or the means, to type in a password or touch a finger pad. Let’s say you’re a doctor treating a patient, or a harried traveller checking in for a flight.

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition is no longer the stuff of dystopian Sci-Fi movies. As an industry, border protection, police, and security services have been using this for well over a decade.

And with the power of Moore’s Law, the compute power you need to process a face accurately is well within the reach of consumers. Even for large set recognition, we have technology that does a good job of recognising customers for focussed concierge.

Just look how accurate Facebook is at suggesting a name tag for photos you upload to the site.

It won’t be long before passwords (at least typed ones) and access cards are a quaint footnote in history.

What does this mean for Trust, Privacy, and Personal Liberty?