idea: brinworld meets the credit card

Major Variola (ret) mv at
Tue Jul 8 12:16:36 PDT 2003

Authentication is "Something you have / know / are."

A simple plastic credit card + PIN provides the first two,
including a photo provides the third "something you are".
A face is more often checked than the readily forgable
signature, in live authentication.

But as cameras become ubiquitous
(e.g., in cell phones) some extra security could be obtained
for *remote* authentication by sending a trusted photo of the
account holder plus a live picture of the card user.

A picture glued into the card could be forged, but a
smartcard (with more data area than a magstripe)
could include a picture of the account holder,
so a thief has no idea what to look like.  But the vendor can
check the encrypted smartcard face to the face on the phone
or webcam.  For high-value remote transactions, where you
pay someone to check faces, this might be viable in a few years.
In a few years after that, machines might be able to check faces
more cheaply, as reliably.

The live face-check with embedded digital photos is already standard
on high-security building-entry cards (and passports?),
with the guard comparing the card-embedded face to the one before him.
Ubiquitous cameras will bring that face-check to remote transactions,
reducing cost due to lower fraud.


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