Finally, you can start to pay for your favorite items with your own good looks—sort of. Amazon recently applied for a patent on technology allowing selfies to sub for credit card signatures and pin numbers when making purchases.
The online retail giant argues that shifting to selfies for purchases would tighten security as it is far more difficult to hack than something like a password.
News of the application’s filing was only published recently, but the application was actually filed last October.
Amazon believes using the technology to take two selfies as proof of identification to be sufficient security. The first photo will identify the purchaser and the second will authenticate the purchaser by asking them to vary the image somehow, such as by moving their head in some way, blinking, smiling, or perhaps holding up a certain hand gesture.
The company feels it’s system is better than others out there, already, too, because it doesn’t simply rely on facial recognition, which it states “can often be spoofed by holding a picture of the user in front of the camera, as the resulting two-dimensional image can look substantially the same whether taken of the user or a picture of the user.”
Part of Amazon’s application states:
“While many conventional approaches rely on password entry for user authentication, these passwords can be stolen or discovered by other persons who can impersonate the user for any of a variety of tasks.”
The application continues:
“Further, the entry of these passwords on portable devices is not user friendly in many cases, as the small touchscreen or keyboard elements can be difficult to accurately select using a relatively large human finger, and 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.”
Not that it wouldn’t be odd to suddenly stop and take a couple selfies of yourself, though, right? It’s rude to shop on your phone while hanging with your friends, anyway, and your boss sure won’t appreciate it. Turn the ringer off and stick it in your pocket, maybe?
Amazon was also quick to point out the weak link in security that saved passwords designed for convenience on portable devices creates.
“In order to avoid typing in long passwords in such situations, users often have their passwords stored on their devices or enable information to be stored elsewhere such that an activity can be performed without manually re-entering the password. When using such an approach, however, another person having access to that device can impersonate the user for any task associated with the store password.”
MasterCard has already given it a go with a 500-customer pilot program.
That’s right, you won’t have to wait much longer, America, before you can live out your narcissistic dreams and purchase what you need with your good looks. Someone call Allen Ginsberg.