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Smile! Amazon wants to replace passwords with selfies

Hiker taking a selfie on their phone at the top of the mountain

The latest bid to tackle fraud might leave some shoppers feeling a bit vain.

Retail giant Amazon has filed a patent for pioneering software which could see passwords replaced with ‘selfies’ – the trend of taking photographs of yourself that has been sweeping the globe.

The application to the US Patent and Trademark Office outlines a blueprint where customers would take two selfies in order to unlock their accounts. The first will establish the users identity and the second selfie will tackle fraudsters by prompting the user “to perform certain actions, motions, or gestures, such as to smile, blink, or tilt his or her head,” the application says.

The facial recognition system claims to be more secure. “While many conventional approaches rely on password entry for user authentication, these passwords can be stolen or discovered by other persons who can impersonate the user for any of a variety of tasks,” the e-commerce giant stated.

It is the second step which avoids the system being tricked by simply holding up a photograph of a person.

And users do seem to be convinced. A survey of 2,000 people from Intelligent Environments reported that 50% would be more likely to use their mobile or tablet for digital banking if it used fingerprint, eye, or face recognition.

According to Amazon, this method would be less “awkward” than traditional passwords.