The days of remembering PIN numbers and passwords may soon be coming to an end as China claims to have unveiled the first facial recognition ATM machine in the world.
The facial recognition technology prevents people from withdrawing cash unless their face is matched to the picture on their IDs. The machine has a camera installed on it which automatically snaps a picture of the user's face when it is approached.
The ATM was created by Tsinghua University and Hangzhou-based technology company Tzekwan, according to China’s state-sponsored Xinhua news agency.
Other features of the machine are that it allows currency exchanges and also records the serial number of every note deposited by clients, in order to identify fake bank notes.
The latter technology could be problematic, as it would also enable the government to start recording ever cash transaction, reducing financial privacy.
While the facial recognition technology is interesting, biometric identification, where body parts and features are used to authenticate users, is widely regarded as insecure.
Biometric features, like a fingerprint or facial features, lack revocation. If a technology is compromised it is impossible to change someone's finger prints or iris or facial features, meaning that if someone devises a way to impersonate a user the whole system is compromised.
So while the technology is convenient, its also highly insecure, which is likely the reason no American banks have used such technology, preferring revocable measures like PINs and passwords.