PayPal on Security: Thinking Outside the Box, Inside the Body (April 20, 2015)
Implanting microchips into the body, tattooing barcodes onto the skin or scanning eyes or palms to identify people have long been the stuff of science fiction. While some of these biometrics techniques have leapt from the pages of sci-fi novels into the real world, Jonathan LeBlanc, global head of developer advocacy at PayPal, says the future for mobile payments and other sensitive transactions could lay with embeddable, injectable and ingestible devices.
LeBlanc is giving a presentation called Kill All Passwords at technology conferences in the U.S. and Europe, and says technology is moving toward “true integration with the human body,” according to reports.
The payments industry has taken a keen interest in biometrics to authenticate customers. Some smartphones, the latest iPhone for example, already have a fingerprint sensor built into them, and American Express and China-based e-commerce giant Alibaba are experimenting with facial recognition software to ensure safe transactions.
LeBlanc, however, says fingerprint and eye scans soon will be passé because they can cause false negatives or positives, which can lead to the user not being identified or, worse yet, someone else being identified as the intended user. LeBlanc proposes embedded silicon chips that detect the heart’s unique electrical activity or ingestible capsules that read unique internal features of a person’s body—with the devices’ batteries being powered by stomach acid.
Passwords are broken and it’s time to replace the concepts of username and password verification, Leblanc told The Wall Street Journal. “If there’s a weak password you need to harden that with something physical behind it,” he said. PayPal currently is working with partners to develop vein recognition technologies and heartbeat recognition bands, he added.
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