Aug 7, 2018

The future of passwords: your face

Photo: Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Your face is increasingly serving as your password, whether for boarding on some international flights, clearing a security line for an entertainment event or opening your iPhone X.

Why it matters: The privacy tradeoffs for this added convenience and security will be a major issue for companies and governments.

The latest:

  • Tokyo's 2020 Olympic Games will use facial recognition for all accredited individuals, the AP's Mari Yamaguchi reports, in an effort to reduce crowding and make logistics easier. Long lines for athletes are a routine hassle at the games.
  • Mineta San Jose International Airport is the first U.S. airport on the West Coast to embrace biometric security systems from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  • China's e-commerce giant JD.com is going global with its unmanned store technology, which uses facial recognition to charge customers. The concept is already popular in China, and JD has just opened its first humanless store in Indonesia.

What they're saying:

  • “I would find it superconvenient if I could use my face at the gate,” AI researcher Jonathan Frankle told the N.Y. Times, on the idea of facial recognition as a boarding pass.
  • "[But] the concern is, what else could that data be used for?”
  • Axios' Kaveh Waddell emails to distinguish between government and commercial uses: "Both have their potential downsides, but they're very different: Taken to their logical ends, one path leads to Minority Report-style advertising and the other leads to Xinjiang-style policing and surveillance. Right now, airports are mixing commercial and government facial recognition."

The big picture: This goose is somewhat cooked. Something like half of Americans adults are in police facial recognition databases, a Georgetown study estimated in 2016.

Go deeper

Stocks fall 4% as sell-off worsens

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks fell more than 4% on Thursday, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 following a spike in coronavirus cases around the world.

The big picture: All three indices closed in correction territory on Thursday, down over 10% from their recent record-highs amid a global market rout.

Coronavirus updates: California monitors 8,400 potential cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Watchdog opens probe into VA secretary over handling of sexual assault claim

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Fox Business Network’s "The Evening Edit" on Jan. 7. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal said Thursday he had opened an investigation into VA Secretary Robert Wilkie after lawmakers demanded an inquiry into his handling of a sexual misconduct report, the Washington Post reports.

Context: Wilkie allegedly "worked to discredit" the credibility of Democratic aide and veteran Andrea Goldstein after she reported last fall "that a man groped and propositioned her in the main lobby of the agency's D.C. Medical Center," a senior VA official told the Post.