This Week in Tech 622: Running for Human

Huge pro-Net Neutrality protests planned for this week. The first Tesla Model 3 rolled off the line on Friday. Sexual Harassment in Silicon Valley. The Nokia 3310 Trump/Putin “Caviar” phone costs $2500. the iPhone 8 might use facial recognition instead of Touch ID. Merck shut down by Petya ransomware. The role of government in cybersecurity and privacy. The role of technology and those versed in it in government. Jawbone closes down. Amazon Prime is a great deal, but Prime Day might not be. The Amazon Echo Show is our favorite potentially creepy digital assistant. Apple vs Qualcomm: what it’s all about.

MasterCard to confirm purchases by face and fingerprint scanning

MasterCard is experimenting with a feature called ID Check that confirms purchases via facial recognition or fingerprint scanning in their smartphone app, following a growing trend to replace traditional passwords with biometrics. An initial trail will be run with only 500 customers as MasterCard works out any bugs an issues ahead of the feature’s public release.

MasterCard has partnered with major mobile computing players including Google, Apple and Samsung to develop the technology for the mass market. The technology will also have to be approved by major banks, which are still in talks with MasterCard. Depending on your bank, you might get to use MasterCard’s biometric technology sooner than other cardholders.

After purchasing something using the MasterCard smartphone app, you’ll be prompted to confirm your transaction by scanning your fingerprint or displaying your face to the front camera. If you opt for the latter, the app will require you to blink once as an added layer of security to thwart thieves who might try to fool the system by holding up a picture of your face.

MasterCard doesn’t keep a photograph of your face or finger, instead your biometrics become a code that’s sent over to the company’s servers to confirm a transaction. Ajay Bhalla, MasterCard’s president for enterprise safety and security, assured CNN that the credit card company won’t be able to recreate your face from the data on their servers, ensuring your facial anonymity.

Bhalla predicts that people who like taking selfies will be happy to use facial recognition in lieu of a password. Additionally, he believes younger generations will adopt MasterCard’s proposed biometric technology without issue.

via MasterCard to confirm purchases by face and fingerprint scanning – TechSpot.

Facebook can recognize you without looking at your face

Think you can stop Facebook from automatically tagging photos of you by covering your face? Think again.

The New Scientist reports that Facebook is developing a new facial recognition algorithm so powerful that it can identify individuals even when their faces are hidden or blocked off. Instead the experimental algorithm gathers information based on other unique characteristics like hair style, body shape, and body language. It can even identify individuals based on what types of clothing they typically wear.

“There are a lot of cues we use. People have characteristic aspects, even if you look at them from the back,” Yann LeCun, head of artificial intelligence at Facebook, told the New Scientist. “For example, you can recognize Mark Zuckerberg very easily because he always wears a gray T-shirt.”

““You can recognize Mark Zuckerberg very easily because he always wears a gray T-shirt.””

Facebook’s A.I. research team tested its new facial recognition algorithm using 40,000 public photos from Flickr. Some of the photos had people’s faces clearly visible and some had people’s faces turned away from the camera. The algorithm was able to identify people with 83 percent accuracy.

Facebook is hoping to incorporate this algorithm into its recently launched Moments feature. Moments automatically creates collections of photos using certain data like where and when each photo was taken, tagging all recognizable Facebook friends along the way. If this algorithm ends up giving Moments another data set, pretty soon Facebook could also be able to surface all the photos of you taken with a certain friend, even photos where that friend was wearing a Halloween mask.

The impact on you: Social networks relying on facial recognition to create better products is nothing new. The new Google Photos app can even recognize your pets. But even though facial recognition is getting impressively accurate, it doesn’t mean that most people have gotten comfortable with the idea of being scanned, identified, and recognized by every tech company.

LeCun argues that the Facebook algorithm can be used to alert people whenever a photo of them surfaces on the web. But the flipside has raised serious privacy concerns. Even Tim Cook has expressed his concern. “You might like these so-called free services [from Facebook and Google], but we don’t think they’re worth having your email or your search history or now even your family photos data-mined and sold off for God knows what advertising purpose,” the Apple CEO said at a recent event.

via Facebook can recognize you without looking at your face | PCWorld.