In a world where security risks are escalating, and data breaches are becoming a pressing concern, organizations must adopt advanced access control systems. 30% of critical infrastructure organizations worldwide are predicted to experience a security breach by 2025, according to Gartner. Businesses must move beyond traditional password-based authentication and explore innovative identity verification methods to combat these threats.
Facial authentication, an increasingly popular biometric technology, offers a secure and user-friendly alternative to conventional password authentication. With the average person struggling to remember around 100 different passwords, facial authentication enhances the user experience while minimizing the risk of data breaches.
In this post, we will delve into facial authentication and reveal how this groundbreaking technology is shaping the future of identity verification and workplace security.
What is Facial Authentication?
Facial authentication is a security process that uses facial recognition technology to verify an individual’s identity. It works by analyzing a person’s unique facial features, such as the distance between their eyes, the shape of their nose, and the contours of their face. These facial features are then compared to a database of known faces to determine if there is a match.
How does Facial Authentication work?
Capture an image or video of the person’s face: Facial authentication starts by capturing an image or video of the person’s face. This can be done using a camera, webcam, or specialized hardware.
Detection and alignment: Once an image or video is captured, facial recognition technology detects and aligns the face within the image or video. This involves identifying key features of the face, such as the eyes, nose, mouth, and jawline.
Feature extraction: The facial recognition technology then extracts features from the face, such as the distance between the eyes, the shape of the nose, and the contours of the face. These features are then converted into a unique digital representation of the face known as a facial template.
Comparison: The facial template is then compared to a database of known faces to determine if there is a match. This database can be created beforehand, such as for employee access control, or it can be a larger database, such as a law enforcement database.
Authentication: If the facial template matches a known face in the database, the person’s identity is authenticated. The person can then be granted access to a system or location or complete a transaction, such as a mobile payment.
Benefits of Facial Authentication Technology
In today’s world, traditional access control systems are no longer sufficient to protect against modern security challenges. Biometric identity verification systems, such as facial authentication, offer a cutting-edge solution that reduces the risk of security breaches. By leveraging the latest technology, these systems provide a safer environment while reducing costs associated with outdated security infrastructure. Some key benefits of facial biometric systems include:-
Theft protection: One of the key benefits of facial authentication is its ability to deter thieves. This technology can prevent theft and minimize fraud loss by identifying malware, bots, and bad actors, making it an essential component of any security system.
Reduced physical contact: Facial authentication is also a non-invasive security solution that eliminates the need for physical contact, reducing the risk of transmission of diseases and promoting a safer environment overall.
Identity assurance: Facial authentication provides high identity assurance by requiring a valid government-issued ID and a selfie with certified liveness detection, which helps keep fraud at bay.
Time clocking: Face-based authentication for employee timekeeping prevents buddy clocking and payroll theft. For e.g. – OLOID Time Clock, contactless and tablet-based, uses Face and QR Code for employee authentication.
User-friendly experience: This technology offers a user-friendly experience, providing a seamless and quick authentication process while meeting users’ demands for speed and ease of use.
Cross-platform portability: Facial biometrics can be created on any device with a camera, allowing facial authentication to be used across multiple platforms and for various purposes. It is particularly a very strong authentication method for frontline workers or deskless workers such as factory workers, and for those who often use shared devices. Most of the deskless workers struggle with complex usernames and passwords to login to their employee apps and interfaces. Facial authentication-based login is for deskless workers what Single Sign On is for knowledge workers. It enables passwordless authentication for the frontline workers.
Robust security controls: Facial authentication offers robust security controls, as biometric templates are unique to individuals and nearly impossible to replicate. This makes it a more secure option than traditional access control systems like key cards or fingerprint scanners.
Key applications of Facial Authentication
Facial authentication technology has made great strides in recent years, and its applications have expanded across various sectors. Here are some key areas where facial authentication has become increasingly valuable:
Access Control: Facial authentication is commonly used for access control in buildings, restricted areas, and other secured locations. For instance, employees can use facial authentication to access their workplaces, and visitors can be authenticated before being granted access to a building.
Online Authentication: Facial authentication can also be used for online authentication, such as for mobile banking and e-commerce transactions. With facial authentication, users can verify their identity by taking a selfie or using the front camera of their smartphone.
Law Enforcement: Law enforcement agencies increasingly use facial authentication to identify suspects and solve crimes. For example, facial recognition technology can match images captured from surveillance cameras with a database of known faces to identify a suspect.
Healthcare: Facial authentication can also be used in healthcare settings to verify the identity of patients and healthcare providers. Facial authentication allows healthcare providers to access patient medical records and administer treatment securely.
Education: Facial authentication is also used in educational settings for attendance tracking and identity verification. For example, facial authentication can be used to verify the identity of students during exams and prevent cheating.
Travel and Border Control: Facial authentication is also used at airports and other border control checkpoints for identity verification and security screening.
Facial Authentication challenges
According to a recent news report, New York City is considering city-level bans on facial recognition technology in public places and in residential buildings without explicit consent under two bills introduced by city council members. It would also prohibit the use of technology that collects biometric identifiers and impose a $5,000 fine per violation on companies that violate the law. The bills strengthen the requirements of the city’s administrative code, which has required businesses to post signs by their entrances if they collect customers’ biometric information since 2021. The latter bill would also prevent landlords or owners of residential buildings from installing, activating, or using any biometric recognition technology that identifies tenants or guests.
So why such strict stance on this technology? While Facial Authentication has the potential to improve security and convenience in many contexts, there are several challenges associated with this technology. Some of them are:
Accuracy and reliability: One of the biggest challenges of facial authentication is accuracy and reliability. The technology is not perfect, and errors can occur due to a variety of factors such as lighting, facial expressions, and environmental conditions.
Bias: Facial recognition technology has been shown to exhibit bias against certain demographic groups, such as people of color and women. This can lead to false positives or false negatives, which can have serious consequences.
Privacy concerns: Facial authentication involves the collection and storage of sensitive biometric data, which can be vulnerable to data breaches and misuse. There are concerns about how this data is collected, stored, and used, and whether it can be accessed by unauthorized parties.
Ethical considerations: There are ethical considerations surrounding the use of facial authentication, particularly in contexts where it is used to monitor or track individuals without their consent. This can raise questions about privacy, surveillance, and the appropriate use of technology.
Legal and regulatory challenges: There are legal and regulatory challenges associated with facial authentication, particularly with respect to data protection and privacy laws. In many jurisdictions, the use of facial recognition is subject to strict regulations, and failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant legal and financial penalties.
Facial authentication technology has taken the world of digital identity verification by storm. Its impact has been felt across various industries, thanks to its ingenious capabilities. As the technology continues to evolve, its widespread adoption will offer users a secure, efficient, and user-friendly alternative to traditional authentication methods. It paves the way for a more seamless and secure digital landscape. As a result, businesses are increasingly turning to facial authentication as a viable solution for their security needs.