First Face Recognition, Now Security Via Body Recognition

You can tell by the way I use my walk. . .

Most of us carry around a handful of keys wherever we go. This usually includes at least one for your car and one for your front door. Then you might have a separate back door key, a spare key for your partner’s car and even a key (or an ID card) for your workplace. Imagine if you didn’t need to carry all of this around. Imagine if the only identification you needed was your own body.

The good old fashioned key isn’t about to go extinct, but body recognition technology is already used in various industries as identity verification. Developers are working on using physical personal traits to access houses, banks, cars and even doctors. The latest advancement has been made by Jaguar, which is currently developing a feature that unlocks a driver’s car based on identifying their walking gait. But what’s the benefit? Is it more than just a flashy trick?

Applications of body recognition security
Body recognition security uses faces, voices, fingerprints and now walking gaits as identification. Jaguar’s gait analysis is potentially the most far-fetched, and it will be a while before the feature is fully functional. However, there are already so many ways to use your physical self as identification. One feature already installed in many personal devices is fingerprint recognition. Instead of typing a passcode, smartphone users simply place their thumb on a sensor-enabled button. Software companies are by no means the only ones investing in body recognition security – as of August 2016, UK bank Barclays has replaced traditional over-the-phone questions with voice recognition alone. When it comes to facial recognition, the potential is huge. ‘Selfie pay’ is a new, self-explanatory concept that validates transactions via selfies. FinTech startup Square has created an app that allows customers to settle their coffee shop bills via facial recognition – certain expressions can even act as passwords. You can even use your selfies to get a doctor’s diagnosis – especially useful for treating rashes and other skin conditions without waiting forever for an appointment.

How disruptive is body recognition security?
First of all, changes in the security sector will affect the businesses within it. These companies have already had to respond to increasing cybercrime, and now the industry will be further disrupted by demand for high-tech security without the locks and bolts. Speaking of locks and bolts, body recognition security will disrupt the way houses are made. The construction industry will already have to accommodate early adopters, as well as answering future demand. On top of all of that, if you change security measures, then you also change the nature of crime. It’s not exactly easy to steal someone’s fingerprint, so the new class of cyber criminals is bound to expand. Crime might even become more physical, as property and person become more connected. On the whole, however, using physical traits as ID is incredibly useful. It saves time and money, especially when applied to vital services like healthcare. There’s also less chance of your ID getting stolen, at least in the traditional sense. There would be an effect on society, too – the selfie would become necessary.

But wait. . .
As foolproof as it initially sounds, there are issues to consider. Take Jaguar’s walking gait analysis, for example. If somebody wanted to steal your brand new luxury saloon, all they would have to do is make you walk up to it. It’s also worth being wary of vocal recognition. At a product launch in October 2016, Google revealed that their AI is approaching human-level understanding of natural language processing. If the technology could replicate human voices, your bank account suddenly wouldn’t be secure. Fingerprint recognition seems like a safer bet, but scientists have just developed a 3D printer that can print human skin. . . What if somebody could replicate your fingerprint? And, of course, there’s always the worry that the tech simply won’t work – not great if you’re running late and can’t lock your house (or unlock your car).

In many ways, it’s easy to see why body recognition security is preferable to physical, detachable items like keys and ID cards. Healthcare, finance, construction and the automotive industry are all using the body as a form of identification. In terms of cutting cost, time and effort, the benefits are clear – and there’s further opportunities for marketers and retailers, too. Even so, individuals and companies should never rely solely on this kind of identification. If and when technology progresses to the stage where a machine can convincingly replicate a human voice, Barclays (and who knows how many other businesses) will be in real trouble.

Would you, or do you, use body recognition security? Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Is body recognition software inevitable in a connected world? Share your thoughts and opinions.