A LEADING privacy group has warned that so-called selfie pay is another massive step towards a “Big Brother” society.
By Paul Harper / Published 3rd February 2018
Facial recognition ID is predicted to replace cash and cards in future as a standard form of payments.
Just last week it emerged MasterCard customers will be able to pay for their shopping by using a selfie from April next year.
Mark Barnett, from Mastercard, said: “Biometric technologies perfectly meet the public’s expectation for state-of-the-art security when making a payment.
"This will be of great benefit to everyone: consumers, retailers and banks.”
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Chinese HSBC consumers have been happy to flash their faces at their smartphones when paying for stuff in the past 12 months.
The Alibaba app also allows KFC customers in China to prove their identity and pay for grub by simply looking at a checkout 3D camera.
Another step in the facial recognition revolution was announced in November by a British start-up firm called Yoti which plans to trial a supermarket app from 2018.
This works by pairing a selfie with an official document such as a passport or driving licence which can be verified by Yoti staff.
But Yoti insists it has no access to the database and envisions the revolutionary system could work in pubs, nightclubs and even on dating sites.
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And the company claims that it could be used to protect against ID fraud.
"It's too easy for people to pretend they're someone else, or gain access to all of our personal details," Yoti co-founder Robin Tombs told the BBC.
"This is shown by the continued rise of identity related fraud and issues that cost time, money and inconvenience to many people every day."
Despite the growing number of companies and apps offering facial recognition, a leading privacy and civil society group has cautioned against selfie pay.
Big Brother Watch fears it could lead to a huge unchecked database which could be secretly abused by police forces and the government.
Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Selfie pay may seem like a convenience but it’s actually a biometric identification tool, much like DNA and iris scanning.
“Selfie pay caused controversy when it recently became normalised in China and yet Brits are now submitting themselves to the same identity checks for simple payments.
“Under the Snooper’s Charter, the UK Government can secretly seize any database, and that includes databases of facial scans.
“Police forces in the UK are also getting their hands on facial recognition tech and even used it to spy on fans at the Champions League final.
“This airport-style identity checking on our phones and streets is characteristic of an authoritarian society and Big Brother Watch urges caution.”