Sure, you can access your bank account balance and buy stuff via celly, but what happens if you loose your handset and some bad dude gets your PIN number? And remember: in Japan, tens of thousands of keitais are lost each year. But one thing the baddies (except for certain famous movie serial cannibals) can’t steal is your face – and today we show you an innovative face-recognition system that’s been ported to mobile phones. “Kaopass” works well and demonstrates one possibility for keitai security in the future. Full Program Run-Time 13:25
Comments from Wireless Watch Japan Editor-in-Chief Daniel Scuka:
In today’s program, we present Part Two of our special series from last month’s IC Card and Security shows held at Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake. We found what we think was the best-of-show technology: Omron’s “Kaopass” face-recognition system that has been developed and ported to mobile phones.
Kaopass is based on technology that Omron has been developing for some time targeting systems for physical security and building access. The firm has been developing the software with a US partner for several years.
But this is the first time the company has publicly shown the system applied to cell phones – and we were impressed. How well does it work? The system authenticated WWJ editor and host Daniel Scuka’s mug in about 4 seconds – and didn’t crash due to wrinkle overload.
Considering that NTT DoCoMo announced a handset from Fujitsu with a built-in fingerprint reader for authentication just this week, it appears that companies like Omron are on the right track in creating more reliable authentication and security systems for mobile.
But while the Kaopass technology looks to be top-notch, I’m still not convinced that a mass-market of users will want to have their photos and personal information stored in an authentication server operated by some Very Big Corporation Inc. – whether that’s Omron or any other organization.
Note that in comparison, DoCoMo’s fingerprint reader only authenticates access to local, onboard features (mail, scheduler, address book, and picture store); it doesn’t swap any data with a network server to allow access of any sort of Web services. Big D are clearly not ready to deal with accusations of becoming Big Brother just yet.
In any event, face recognition is here to stay and it seems to work well. Now the question is: How will it be used?