Users might soon be able to lock and unlock their accounts using facial recognition technology.
Facebook has received a fair amount of criticism since over the years. The fact that Facebook can track you even while you’re offline, as well as the fact that they collect their users’ data has given ample ammunition to Facebook skeptics.
The company recently reported that they are currently testing the possibility of using facial recognition technology to help users lock and unlock their accounts, which is bound to set off more criticism.
By implementing facial recognition technology, Facebook will be able to verify the face that is linked to a specific account. According to the company, this is in order to prevent a third-party from accessing your account.
TechCrunch recently reported that this tool would be particularly useful in helping users unlock their accounts safely when they don’t have immediate access to Facebook’s two-factor authentication, for example, users who are traveling abroad or have lost access to their email account.
According to Facebook, the new features were designed with users in mind who wanted a quick and safe way to access their accounts. Facial recognition technology will allow users to verify their accounts quickly and safely during the account recovery process.
This feature will be optionable, and only available on devices that you’ve previously used to log into your Facebook accounts. Facebook stressed that this is just another security measure alongside their two-factor authentication via SMS.
Facebook was likely inspired by the new iPhone X’s new function which employs facial recognition to unlock a user’s phone instantly. Matt Navara of TNW, recently shared a screenshot to give users an idea of what the future feature of Facebook facial recognition will look like.
Facial recognition is one of the fastest growing industries in technology today. Law enforcement agencies, governmental bodies, security companies, and retailers alike are daily looking for new ways to implement facial recognition technology.
China for example, already widely uses facial recognition in public restrooms while the United States uses facial recognition technology in all major airports to keep track of individuals entering and leaving the country.
Law enforcement agencies have also increased their use of facial recognition technology. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has admitted to having a database which consists of more than 411 million images. Of these images, 140 million belong to foreigners who have applied for a US visa, and 30 million are mugshots of convicted criminals.
Despite the increasing use of the technology, a recent survey conducted by security firm, Bitglass, found that facial recognition was not the best security tool available. The survey which was extended to a group of 129 hackers, found that facial recognition is a worse tool than both standard passwords as well as fingerprint authentication. The recent survey has caused a lot of doubt in the facial recognition industry.
According to Thomas Fischer, a global security advocate at Digital Guardian, Facebook’s implementing of facial recognition technology is seemingly aimed at providing users an alternative to two-factor authentication when they’ve lost access to their accounts.
Fischer noted that implementing facial recognition will give Facebook users a three-layer protection against hackers which includes the account in question, device, and now, biometrics, which will significantly increase the safety of a user’s account.
As for the invasive element, Fischer thinks the key will lie in how Facebook plans to implement this new technology. According to Apple, their FaceID is safe as it uses spatial analysis and onboard machine learning processors to identify the user’s face.
For now, it is unsure if Facebook will work similarly. The biggest issue with Facebook’s facial recognition is the fact that it won’t be integrated into the user’s device, but will likely rely on servers to process and store facial images. This would require Facebook to store the data on a cloud. If this is the case, there is a pressing question on how they intend to protect their users’ data.