Coming on the unfortunate heels of last week’s security findings about Apple’s Face ID vulnerabilities, a tech firm is testing a new feature in two UK grocery stores. Yoti, a British startup, has a new app that lets smartphone users pay for their items at the register with their faces.
But Yoti’s Android and iOS app isn’t just a quick workaround to get to your mobile wallet. The company’s other, broader application for their product is a quick way to prove your identity for things like going out to bars or purchasing age-restricted items like alcohol. By initially linking your selfie to something more secure like your driver’s license or passport, your phone essentially becomes a faster means of showing that you are who you claim to be.
One face, many uses
While this may on the surface seem like a quick fix to a problem we really don’t have, confirming one’s identity online is a whole other matter, one that Yoti might help solve. The ever-popular “Peggy from the credit card” commercials were a spotlight on the fact that the face behind the computer can belong to anyone, so Yoti’s face-to-document security link might also have uses for online shopping, dating sites, employment sites, and more.
Unfortunately, all this convenience and stronger verification comes with a heavy privacy risk. The first step to a successful Yoti identity is to link your most sensitive identifying documents through the app, which should send off alarm bells to smart consumers. The company, however, says it doesn’t store any of the documents on its servers, which is an immediate step forward for company models that have been breached in the past; now, if they could just get your cellular service provider to wipe your identifying image off their servers, that would be even more secure.
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