Print 31 comment(s) - last by SensibleVision.. on Jan 8 at 5:30 PM

Both companies point towards facial recognition as future log-in

How much time is wasted on creating, managing, remembering, inevitably forgetting, and then resetting a password for your internet-based logins?

If Apple and Google have their way, that question may soon be a thing of the past.
The Times of India reports that both companies are working on more sophisticated and personal ways for users to log in to their various accounts, using facial recognition instead of an input character set.

Last week, Apple applied for a patent in the United States for technology called "Low Threshold Face Recognition." 

"Using a forward-facing camera to recognize an individual user, future iPhones and iPads from Apple could automatically customize applications, settings, and features to a user's personal preferences once they pick up the device," explains Apple Insider.

The patent differs from most current facial recognition, which can be a drain on the battery, by focusing on a "high information portion" of a user's face rather than their entire mug. In particular, the device will measure the distance between their eyes and mouth to confirm the user’s identity, giving new meaning to the phrase, "You're holding it wrong."

Meanwhile, Google's Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich") comes equipped with face-recognition technology that unlocks a phone by detecting a user's face through its front-facing camera.

However, as PC Mag reports, the technology in its current form is actually less secure than a character-based PIN or password, as one blogger actually unlocked a Samsung Galaxy Nexus using a photograph of the user.

Sources: Times of India, PC Mag

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By NullSubroutine on 1/2/2012 9:48:01 AM , Rating: 5
So new wave of "password crackers" that print out pictures of people.

RE: Uh...
By amanojaku on 1/2/2012 10:01:41 AM , Rating: 2
They've already done that. In one case, I read two mobile phones were placed screen-to-screen, and one phone unlocked using the picture of the owner on the other phone screen.

RE: Uh...
By mcnabney on 1/2/2012 10:13:43 AM , Rating: 1
The trick is really only effective if the person trying to get into the phone knows who you are. If you just lose your phone the finder will not know who you are to go fish a picture off of Facebook or something.

RE: Uh...
By kleinma on 1/2/2012 10:17:41 AM , Rating: 5
my buddy got the new verizon nexus from samsung, and they were able to unlock his phone with the face recognition by taking his picture with another smart phone, and holding the smartphone picture up to his phone. This type of tech is simply a gimic and can not be taken seriously for real security.

RE: Uh...
By cmdrdredd on 1/2/2012 12:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
There's even a warning when you enable this feature that says it's not as secure as a password or pin number. I've even heard that sometimes someone with certain facial features similar to yours will unlock the phone. I have this phone but have never used the feature.

RE: Uh...
By bug77 on 1/2/2012 3:36:53 PM , Rating: 4
There are algorithms that can identify a face even when wearing a disguise. I believe IBM has some patents in this area. I don't know if they're suitable for the processing power of a mobile phone, but don't just assume face recognition is only a gimmick. It is, in the way ICS does it, but it doesn't have to be.

RE: Uh...
By kleinma on 1/4/2012 9:12:53 PM , Rating: 2
What about evil twin brothers?

RE: Uh...
By FaaR on 1/2/2012 10:20:43 AM , Rating: 3
Security through obscurity isn't security. You can't rely on bad people not knowing what your face looks like or you're going end up stung in a major way eventually.

If you can unlock something with a photograph of your face instead of your actual face, then it's a faulty system. End of story.

RE: Uh...
By Wolfpup on 1/4/2012 5:28:59 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and I don't trust this tech yet at all, not that it won't lock me out of my hardware, and not that someone else's face can't unlock it.

I still love the IDEA of this and voice recognition, but year after year every implementation of it is laughable. Heck, I guess that SERI or whatever is doing processing on servers, and still is just a joke from what I've seen.

My non-SERI iPod's voice recognition nails maybe one attempt out of 30.

RE: Uh...
By bjacobson on 1/2/2012 10:29:20 AM , Rating: 2
because nobody has photos of themselves with 5 other friends saved onto their SDcard? Right.

RE: Uh...
By FaaR on 1/2/2012 10:16:57 AM , Rating: 3
Well, iPhones already have "retina" displays, making the intruder's job easier... :P

I can't say I feel very confident in these sort of developments. I dunno bout you, but I'd rather drain my battery a bit rather than have a cheap, simple implementation of facial recognition to unlock something as important as a smartphone is these days. People can basically carry their whole lives in these things now, so security is important.

I'd rather see they develop a scheme where you sweep the phone around your whole face to get the profile as well. Many phones already have MEMS gyros and accelerometers built-in, making tracking easier, and it would defeat attempts to scan a simple photograph or another phone's or computer's screen.

RE: Uh...
By Lerianis on 1/3/2012 7:30:31 AM , Rating: 2
There is an easy way to get around that: make the software look for 'movement' in the frames behind/around the person to make sure that the image in question isn't just a static picture someone printed out.

RE: Uh...
By jRaskell on 1/3/2012 8:17:42 AM , Rating: 2
1. There won't always be movement behind someone genuinely trying to unlock their phone.

2. It'll just make it a bit more difficult to spoof movement behind a picture (as in, print and cut out the profile of the users face, and introduce movement behind that picture). Still by no means difficult to accomplish.

RE: Uh...
By nafhan on 1/3/2012 10:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
So, play a video with the owners face and a non-static background on a second phone/tablet to unlock it. The point is: if you can unlock a device with information that's easily and publicly available, someone will find a way to do so.

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