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Amazon files selfie payment patent

Self-taken portraits may seem like a frivolous bane of social media but the 21st century phenomenon may soon have a practical role of a new patent application from Amazon ever becomes a reality.

The new system enables users to dispense with unreliable and awkward passwords when paying for goods on the marketplace by instead placing saying cheese for the camera whilst facial recognition technology confirms the identity of the purchaser.

Intended to overcome the problem of an imposter simply holding up a picture of the person they are seeking to scam the new system will involve a two-step process with one photo to confirm identity and a second to confirm proximity to the computer by subtly adjusting their position.

In their application Amazon wrote: "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.

"Further, the entry of these passwords on portable devices is not user friendly in many cases, as the small touchscreen or keyboard elements can be difficult to accurately select using a relatively large human finger, and can require the user to turn away from friends or co-workers when entering a password, which can be awkward or embarrassing in many situations."

Amazon has not said when (if ever) it is likely to introduce the new payment solution.

John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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