- John Garcia
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The Password In Your Eyes: Has Iris Identity Authentication Finally Arrived?
More reliable than most biometrics, Iris-identity authentication solutions are catching on, with one company looking to turn the technology into an everyday utility.
In the ongoing quest for secure authentication and data protection, iris-based identity authentication solutions stand out as one of the most the innovative and reliable tools. And given the legal industry’s relationship with clients at the forefront of data protection technologies, this technology may soon become the standard for many law firms and legal departments.
“Just in the past three years or so we have seen a rapid interest around biometrics as a growing market segment, said Tony Antolino, chief marketing and business development officer at Eyelock. “If we take [the legal industry]] as it related to financial services or healthcare, what we know is that the regulations that are coming down mandate that the law firms use, or meet the same requirement as their banking clients. So if a bank has a certain amount of regulation required to protect consumer data, privacy of their information, etc., law firms that are servicing those banks … have to follow the same guidelines. And same thing goes for health care. And we are seeing a rapid acceleration of adoption [of this technology] among the law community.”
While the adoption of biometric technology is a new development, Antolino noted that “it’s not a particularly new technology,” as it has been around for about 20 years. But the recent adaption of iris-based authentication solutions, he added, is due to a confluence of factors, starting with expiration of a key patent in 2006 that enabled many other players to enter the market.
“Until recently you only ever heard biometrics being used in law enforcement or in government, there was a decade or so of failed attempts to incorporate finger prints or swipe sensors into computer and they didn’t work very well and it never really became a reliant technology, so they started to go away,” Antolino said. “But then Apple put a fingerprint sensor back onto a device … and it made biometrics an everyday conversation.”
Additionally, Antalino said that Apple’s fingerprint sensor made biometrics “part of the fabric of what we expect from devices in terms of providing next level security and not only being reliant on password.”
Antolino added that iris-based identity authentication solutions provide a level of security and verification that is unmatched by fingerprint identification, which is not as reliable given its false acceptance rates.
“In the world of biometrics DNA is number one,” Antolino explained. “That is, the most amount of information that can be used to differentiate you from me. Statistically, an iris is number two. Each iris has over 240 point of unique that differentiate one eye from the other, and even in your own two eyes, your right and left eye are different …[but] with fingerprints you only have 20 points of uniqueness in your index finger.”
An iris is also “most stable from cradle to grave — several months after birth you iris stops changing,” he added. “While there are minute-level changes, they aren’t enough to have an impact on the reliance of that iris identity over time.”
Eyelock has innovated in the iris-based authentication technology space, said Antolino, by being “the only company in the iris company space that is able to conduct simultaneous dual eye iris identity authentication, and what that literally means it that we look at both eyes at the same time. … Our proprietary approach is [also] ever different in that we use video based capture technology versus using a static image which is what you will find historically used in iris technology. And even in other current iris technology providers they still use the single capture approach — it’s larger because it’s very hard science, it’s very complicated physics to be able to do a video based capture.”
With its video capture technology the company is aiming to make Iris authentication technology “become a utility, much like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi or some of the other mainstream technology that we now take for granted, “he added.
With its proprietary technology, as well as its ownership and control over a set of proprietary algorithms, Antolino explained that Eyelock is able to scale the authentication solution for different market segments and needs.
“A primary reason we are seeing accelerated adoption for our technology across many different market segment and on top of the scalability is its extremely cost effective as you think about incorporating the technology, access to control so when you think about people walking in and out of office buildings … to more complex environments to embedding into a smartphone or pc embedding into an ATM in the banking world or even in some automobiles,” Antolino said.
Eyelock, for example, has “introduced ATMs with [ATM manufacturer] Diebold, where our technology is natively incorporated. … Citibank has made it public that they are now testing that ATM for considering for ATMs of the future for their consumer base,” Antolino noted.
Law firms, he added, can benefit from the technology as it allows them a “competitive advantage” in the market place by allowing users to “provide the highest degree of security.”
“You have this new security authentication fabric that relates to managing the identity of people across the devices that are important to them … versus simple providing an authentication for that device,” he added.