Selfies may soon become an authentication option for Samsung smartphone users. On Feb. 16, 2016, Samsung SDS and Morpho S.A.S., a division of French biometrics and security firm Safran S.A., disclosed plans to integrate Morpho's facial recognition into Samsung's core technology. Samsung currently uses fingerprint biometrics; facial recognition would complement its suite of Fast Identity Online (FIDO) methods, the companies stated.
The FIDO Alliance was established in 2012 to develop international standards for authentication technologies that are simpler, stronger, open source and interoperable. Samsung, Morpho and other FIDO members consider biometrics a compelling alternative to passwords. Technologies based on unique personal characteristics are generally more difficult to duplicate and eliminate the need to remember or store multiple usernames and logins.
"As a result of the integration of Morpho's technology, the Samsung SDS FIDO solution, previously available with fingerprint capability, is now enhanced with face authentication," said James Choi, Vice President, Mobile Payment Business for Samsung SDS. "By adding face recognition technology to our FIDO solution, we will be able to deliver enhanced value to our enterprise customers to accelerate market penetration."
Morpho noted that its facial recognition technology has been deployed across numerous industries and countries, enabling smartphones, tablets and computers to recognize users' unique facial characteristics in lieu of passwords. A unique capability to differentiate between live camera feeds and stored photos will bring an additional level of security to connected devices, according to company representatives familiar with the technology.
"Morpho's technology enables any smartphone on the market with cutting-edge face recognition with 'liveness' detection, which is key to providing a safe and easy authentication method to all end users, and can work as a second factor on smartphones equipped with fingerprint sensors," Choi said.
Samsung SDS, based in Seoul, South Korea, will deploy its facial recognition system in its smart security and smart logistic platforms and substrata of business and consumer devices. The global information and communication technology service provider is considered to be a leader in smart manufacturing and smart convergence within the expanding Internet of Things (IoT) community.
Payments and security analysts have been increasingly vocal on the need to transcend password protection by implementing more robust forms of security in the always-on, always-connected world. Yves Portalier, Vice President and General Manager of the Telecom Business Unit at Morpho, would like to see FIDO-based solutions replace passwords at the point of transaction.
"The growth of mobile business services is clearly making life easier for all users, but it can only be steadily deployed by ensuring reliable and strong online authentication methods to avoid fraud," Portalier stated.
Morpho noted that its 40-year heritage in biometrics, security and information technology has contributed to a range of customized identity management and threat detection applications for government, business and private sectors. The company plans to deploy its facial recognition software development kit across the entire spectrum of mobile network operators, device manufacturers and IoT service providers.
While the earliest forms of facial recognition date back to the 1960s, recent innovations reveal the technology community's growing interest in the space. Cole Calistra, Chief Technology Officer at Miami-based human analytics startup Kairos AR Inc., cited 56 independent research groups in the United States and Europe that are studying a range of use cases.
"The study of facial recognition, facial detection, emotion in faces, and the whole field of facial image processing has been fascinating," Calistra wrote. "There has been huge advancement in a relatively short period of time. Who knows how far it will go. Where will the budding researchers, now playing and learning in kindergarten, place their focus when they get to their academic prime?"
Inevitably, developments in facial recognition have raised privacy concerns. The Government Accountability Office released a report Aug. 3, 2015, to address concerns about facial recognition use cases in social media such as Google and Facebook. The report surveyed companies in the government and private sectors and concluded the extent of the technology's "current use in commercial settings is not fully known."
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