September 27, 2021

Biometrics: Your Selfie as Your Next Password

Biometrics: Your Selfie as Your Next Password | IMI

From unlocking your phone and your car to buying groceries and stocks, biometrics is becoming more mainstream. For identification and verification, biometrics provides greater convenience, enhanced security, and faster processing. But do these benefits outweigh the risks?

Biometric technology has seen an upswing in the market as we do more transactions online. From banks to border control, our unique physical traits and behaviors authenticate our identities. In this article, we look at the different types of biometrics and their use cases. We’ll also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of this technology.

What is biometrics?

Biometrics is the measurement and analysis of a person’s physical or behavioral characteristics to verify and authenticate a person’s identity. There are two main categories of biometrics: physical and behavioral. 

Facial recognition

Once primarily used by security and law enforcement, biometric technologies are rapidly becoming part of our everyday lives. Facial recognition, in particular, is becoming more mainstream. 

Facial recognition software measures different facial features called landmarks or nodal points. These could include the distance between your eyes, the width of your nose, and the distance from your forehead to your chin. The software could also measure the shape of your cheekbones and lips, your ears, and your chin. 

After collecting up to 80 different measurements, an advanced algorithm converts this information into a mathematical formula that represents your unique facial signature.

Let’s take a look at some real-world use cases.

How facial recognition is being used

Unlocking your phone

In 2017, Apple put facial recognition technology in the iPhone X. Dubbed Face ID, the biometric tech uses 30,000 data points to authenticate your identity. According to Apple, the chance of tricking Face ID is one in a million.

According to a report by Mercator Advisory Group, facial recognition increased to nearly 30% of biometric authentication, up from 11% in 2019. The research and advisory services firm, which focuses exclusively on the payments industry, predicts that by 2024, 66% of smartphone owners will use biometrics for authentication.

Here’s a video showing how Face ID works.

Mobile payments

The volume of contactless, cashless transactions has skyrocketed because of the pandemic, and online shopping is here to stay. With biometric technologies verifying the buyer’s identity, mobile payments can be more secure than card payments. In a recent report, Juniper Research predicts that by 2024, biometric facial recognition will be deployed in over 800 million mobile devices, making it the fastest-growing type of biometrics in smartphones. 

(Also read: How Your Virtual Cart Can Save Your Wallet)

Financial services

As financial services go digital, there is a greater need for more stringent identification protocols to prevent fraud, make transactions more secure, and optimize the customer experience.

Know Your Customer (KYC) is a mandatory process in financial institutions to validate a client’s identity, confirm that the source of funds is legitimate, and evaluate the risk of financial crimes. Biometrics can make KYC checks faster and more efficient. 

Identity verification solutions company Veratad Technologies has formed a partnership with Bank Kernel, integrating selfie biometrics with liveness checks and two-factor authentication for KYC and AML-compliance onboarding.

“Digital identity verification is a must-have as the financial industry seeks to modernize onboarding and provide a smooth customer experience, and we are eager for our solutions to continue playing a part in that innovation,” says John E. Ahrens, CEO of Veratad Technologies.

Last August, Onfido announced its partnership expansion with Bux, a leading European neobroker, to integrate Onfido’s AI-powered identity verification to securely verify users remotely, simplify KYC requirements, and simplify the onboarding process. Bux recently raised USD 80 million to expand its neobroker platform. 

“Organizations today face the challenge of offering a seamless onboarding experience while integrating strong fraud detection and upholding privacy,” says Michael van Gestel, Global Head of Fraud and General Manager of Onfido Netherlands. “With Onfido BUX can achieve just that, putting usability, security, and trust at the forefront. Onfido’s hybrid approach combines the speed and scalability of AI with expert identity analysts so fast-growing fintechs, such as BUX, can onboard more users quickly with world-class fraud detection capabilities.”

Airports and border control

As airports ramp up safety requirements for touchless travel, biometric technology is being incorporated in more airports. From baggage check-in to passenger boarding, facial recognition ensures a safer and faster journey for travelers. 

Since 2019, Beijing Daxing Airport has been using facial recognition technology for identity verification. Recently, Dubai Airport launched facial recognition technology at 122 smart gates at arrival and departure terminals. Using a combination of facial and iris recognition, the system does away with travel documents and boarding passes.

“The future is coming," said Major Gen. Obaid Mehayer Bin Suroor, deputy director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs. “Now, all the procedures have become ‘smart,' around five to six seconds.”

(Also read: 5G in Aviation: A New Horizon)


For enhanced security and driver safety, biometrics is also being used in automotive technology.

Genesis will provide keyless access to the GV60 with facial recognition software. Dubbed Face Connect, the new technology will allow drivers to open the door and start the vehicle with biometric data instead of a smart key. Once the facial recognition program recognizes a preregistered driver, it will automatically set the driver’s seat, steering wheel, and head-up display to the driver’s preferences.

Up to two faces can be registered to the electric vehicle. 

(Also read: Plugging into E-Mobility)

A growing market and a growing concern

With the digital acceleration of both enterprises and consumers, identity theft and other forms of cyberthreats are on the rise, requiring stronger authentication solutions.

The global facial recognition market is projected to grow 12% from 2021 to 2025, according to a recent report by market research company Technavio. Here are some key points from the report:

Facial recognition technology offers many uses in various industries. It provides greater convenience, enhanced security, and faster processing. But, it has also raised concerns about privacy, ethics, and regulation. Errors and inaccuracies related to ethnicity and gender could impede individual freedoms and lead to discrimination. 

As with any technology, its potential for good or evil depends on how society uses it. Given its many applications and growing market, facial recognition technology is likely here to stay. To ensure its ethical use, we must create policies to regulate its commercial and government applications.

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Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc., also known as IMI, is one of the leading global providers of electronics manufacturing services (EMS) and power semiconductor assembly and test services (SATS) in the world.