Amazon wants to get rid of passwords and let you make purchases using a selfie

By midian182
Mar 15, 2016
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  1. For as long as passwords have existed there have been people trying to break them. Amazon wants to get around this common, and sometimes vulnerable, method of identification by using a technology that’s best described as ‘pay-by-selfie.’

    First reported by Re/Code, the e-commerce giant’s “Image Analysis for User Authentication” patent describes using a process where a person can purchase something on Amazon using a photo and/or video of themselves, rather than their account password.

    The patent application, filed in October and published last week, describes utilizing facial recognition software to confirm a person's identity. As a way of preventing someone from stealing a photo or video of the account holder in order to trick the system, users must perform an action, such as blinking an eye, smiling, or tilting their head, to verify that it’s actually them.

    In addition to the security benefits, the patent talks about the difficulty some people face when trying to type long passwords, often with capitals and symbols, into mobile devices with small keyboards. Moreover, it goes on to state that ensuring nobody sees you type your password into a smartphone can lead to awkward social situations.

    “The entry of these passwords … can require the user to turn away from friends or co-workers when entering a password, which can be awkward or embarrassing in many situations.” Some people obviously don’t trust their friends very much.

    Amazon already holds a separate patent that allows a device to authenticate a person using a photo or video, but this new technology will allow users to complete purchases. And it won't be limited to smartphones, either; it can be used on several devices, including desktops, laptops, and tablets.

    Like all patents, there’s no guarantee that this will become a real-world feature, but considering that it builds on a previous application, and other companies, such as Mastercard, are already piloting similar biometric identification technology, we may soon be paying for our Christmas shopping by flirting with a camera.

    Image credit: VGstockstudio / Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. amstech

    amstech TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 1,436   +592

    What a sad, weak, pathetic, entitled generation this is.
    Arturo and ForgottenLegion like this.
  3. seeprime

    seeprime TS Rookie Posts: 29   +11

    This is a horrible idea that will slow down purchases. I like the fast one-click purchases that I have right now on all my devices.
  4. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TS Addict Posts: 135   +50

    Jeez, unnecessary hate overload, much? I mean, sure, it's a pretty dumb quote, but (a) extrapolating this to be a generational thing is just bizarre, (b) sad, weak, pathetic, entitled - are they the attributes of the zero people who asked for this feature? It's a patent application, not some group of evil children clubbing together to demand "selfie verification". Get a grip.

    To me, it sounds like a horrible idea simply because I don't want Amazon to have tons of photos of me. All biometric data seems silly to be handing out to companies and governments when everyone in the world is hacking everyone else.
  5. RoosterFish2

    RoosterFish2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +30

    Hopefully this wont be a requirement. I hate myself in pictures, then again if they force it on me, looking at my big mug could shame me into losing a little weight.
  6. G0DofPaiN

    G0DofPaiN TS Booster Posts: 55   +30

    Sounds great. Maybe I can find a drunk girl with amazon account to blink an eye because I really need a new pair of shoes.
    Julian Clayton likes this.
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,498   +673

    I would have to see the downside of this before I would consider using it. It might be more difficult to get around, but I can see several scenarios that would by-pass the system, particularly in the hands of a more sophisticated hacker.
  8. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Member Posts: 45   +23

    What a stupid idea. Who com
  9. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,408   +464

    There have been 2step authentication hacks because of... users. This could be fooled the same way, man in the middle capturing different poses like tilting or winking saying somethings wrong try again and you got your account hacked.

    Although the idea of getting away from passwords is always nice, not sure if THIS is the way to go.
  10. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 860   +307

    No cellphone, no tablet, no 'cam' of any type on my desktop computer, guess I'm screwed.
    I know they'll have alternate methods....for awhile
    maybe someday we'll pay by DNA plus something else (two factor authentication)
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
    DAOWAce and Arturo like this.
  11. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    Julian Clayton likes this.
  12. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,587   +278

    No. Just no. Usually Amazon aren't too bad with their "advancements" but this is horrible.
  13. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,937

    It's going to be very difficult to ID yourself by selfie if you skip on a payment to the Mob for example. A password remains the best bet for the time being. Those who choose such weak and obvious passwords is entirely their fault.
    TheBigFatClown likes this.
  14. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Maniac Posts: 161   +197

    Makes call to bank : "Hi, someone's been making unauthorized purchases on my new biometric account. I'd like you to cancel my face please and send me a new one..."

    When it comes to security, inconvenience is a feature not a bug.
    Julian Clayton and Arturo like this.
  15. infiltrator

    infiltrator TS Booster Posts: 140   +21

    Its not that hard to lose weight. But it really comes down to your willingness to want to lose weight.
  16. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    This is a great idea. I can buy things and charge it to someone else by taking their picture.
  17. NightAntilli

    NightAntilli TS Booster Posts: 93   +71

    If they enable this for people who want it, fine. I do have issues with removing the password option.
  18. Arturo

    Arturo TS Member Posts: 81   +26

    Yes, stupid people.
  19. DAOWAce

    DAOWAce TS Booster Posts: 248   +30

    Don't forget no mic!

    Same here; don't even own a landline phone which makes me unable to even register with numerous services. If things like this start to replace other methods, then I'm going to be forced to waste money on things that serve no purpose in my life.
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,457   +1,759

    Well, Amazon has recently been out stepping the bounds of good taste on many fronts of late. Here are a few of the low lights, in no particular order

    You used to be able to buy an MP3 off those mutts very easily. Now, you get the same crap as iTunes with the need to install software, before you can buy a 99 cent song. Then there's "Instant Video". More malware which now runs at startup, and I believe, logs into Amazons server with anonymous root authority, before you can buy a 99 cent TV episode from them.

    Then they were presumptuous enough to believe the FAA should allow them to summarily deliver packages with toy helicopters, because after all, look who they are. Remember, "they're serving YOU , (at least in theory), or so says their press releases.

    Moving along, there's the "five dollar stick me on gimmick", where they "allow you" to instantly buy more stuff from them without logging into your account.

    Then there's "Alexa", which shouldn't require much of an explanation. But, this thing sits inj your house listening to every word spoken. Well, it does have the ability to answer questions stupid enough to make "Siri" and "Cortana" seem like PHD's. (But then I suppose the reverse is also true of of the after mentioned biddies as well.

    I can easily foresee it coming to pass, the only way you'll be able to log into Amazon will be from your "Fire" tablet, which of course they'll "allow you to buy", so you can.

    Once you have you Amazon tablet, you'll feel obligated to buy from them, for multiple reasons. Thus it will logically follow you will be drawn away form businesses you would normally patronize.

    Amazon's end game is to put everybody else in the world out of business. And that's an entirely logical conclusion, borne out of the fact that today's giant corporation's strategies seem to be based on principles developed by Sun Tzu and Machiavelli.

    Ah, but what the hell, if you'll let M$ force Windows 10 on you, you'll be an easy mark for this s*** as well...:oops:

    BTW, be sure to call your local FAA office and tell them in no uncertain terms, "I want to be able to fly annoying drones being guided by minimum wage unlicensed pilots over anybody's head they choose, so I can get my packages ASAP". Tell them your name is Kim Kardashian or Kanye West. Hopefully that will speed the approval along.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016

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