Facial Recognition

People have always used faces to recognize each other. Today machine algorithms can also accurately identify people and have been shown to consistently outperform untrained humans.

Since 2001, Daon has been using face biometrics in government identity schemes such as passports, driver’s licenses and identity cards. In 2010 we introduced facial recognition as a highly convenient biometric for use with personal smartphones where a user need only glance at a camera to be quickly authenticated.

FacialRecognition image

How facial recognition works

  • Face algorithms rely on features of the face such as its geometry, appearance, and skin texture:
  • Geometric information includes the relative position of and distance between key facial points such as the eyes, nose and chin.
  • Appearance features examine the pixels across the whole face, giving more importance to areas which change the least over time.
  • Where high resolution images are available, finer details of the skin can also be used, and can help differentiate between identical twins. Some of the most accurate face algorithms now use deep neural networks to learn these distinguishing facial features.

Face verification can be made even more reliable by constructing a 3D model of the face geometry; this works best with specialized infrared illuminators and cameras such as those now appearing in some flagship smartphones. This approach is more tolerant to the user moving, changing expression, or changing the orientation of their head. 

Applications of facial recognition

Using face for verification is accurate and convenient and is often the preferred biometric selected by end-users. While facial recognition does not provide the same accuracy levels as using multiple fingerprints, it can still be used to identify a person in large databases.

Almost every smartphone available on the market since 2010 has incorporated a camera capable of being used for biometric face capture. This makes facial recognition a great option that can be applied across most users.

Face biometrics is used in digital onboarding to cross reference users against their ID documents and/or trusted sources.

Daon’s IdentityX platform incorporates multiple facial recognition approaches which means organizations can be flexible in how they incorporate facial recognition into their systems:

1. A face recognition algorithm running in an app on the user’s device: this is a fast and privacy-centric approach suitable for almost any user.

2. A face algorithm on a server: this allows for face authentication across multiple devices and means face authentication can be used in more business scenarios, such as when the user is using a different device.

3. A device’s built-in face recognition capabilities, such as Apple Face ID.

Find out more about IdentityX authentication options.