PART ONE: Biometrics are Everywhere
The Promise and Proliferation of Biometrics
Biometrics ship as a standard feature on many smartphones and are quickly becoming integrated into more onboarding processes and mobile apps for easier logins. The value proposition is based on a balance of convenience and security, minimizing user friction in transactions traditionally made tedious in response to higher risk.
On the most relevant level, the use case of biometrics as a password replacement best illustrates the benefits of user authentication. Everyone knows passwords are all-too easy to share, phish and forget. That’s why even the most recent IT security reports still show the most used passwords are absurdly simple, like “12345678”, “password”, “football”, etc.
The theory behind using biometrics in lieu of passwords is that biometric authentication removes the friction of having to invent, remember and change complex passwords regularly. And if your access credential is something you are, it will never be forgotten. Any biometric data unique to you should allow you alone to securely access your account.
And that is just the simplest example. Biometrics are beginning to be used in a wide range of vertical markets. In finance, healthcare, government, elections, retail, enterprise, connected living and more, biometrics promise to make life easier and more secure. Use cases for biometrics across these markets include:
- Unlocking a phone
- Password replacement for mobile app
- 2FA, MFA & Strong Customer Authentication for PSD2
- Remote onboarding and proof-of-life for online account creation
- Time and attendance workforce management
- Age verification for the sale of controlled substances
- Authentication for payments and other financial transactions
- Voter registration in democratic elections
- Access management of electronic health records
- Unlocking a door lock or car door with a smartphone
The mobile biometrics market is skyrocketing, with industry leading research from Acuity Market Intelligence indicating revenues for the sector, which hit $6.5 billion in 2017, are on track to reach $50.6 billion by 2022. Another report from Market Research Future, focusing solely on face recognition, forecasts a value of $8 billion by 2022 for that modality alone.
Biometrics, specifically face recognition and other device agnostic, software-based solutions, are becoming the access control technology of choice. But what if they are not as good as they claim? What if we, as users, have not even been asking the right questions?
“Standardized Testing for Biometrics: Cutting Through the Hype and Finding Integrity in Digital Identity” is a FaceTec white paper. This version has been optimized for the web for educational purposes and published here with permission from the author.