Being connected to the information superhighway is not a one-way street. Today, developed nations are more connected than ever and this, unfortunately, is not without its disadvantages. Not only are you surfing the web on your computers, but also on our cell phones, video game consoles, Blu-Ray players, and even TVs! Most aspects of your life can be found online. Your social life can be seen through status updates and pictures on social media, your career can be found on your online resume profile on websites such as LinkedIn, and even your financial information is available if you file your taxes online, or use a bank’s online banking service. It is not difficult to find a connected person with the use of Google.
The growth of the connected age has also brought about the growth of cybercrime, with the most developed nations being at the mercy of the cyber criminals. The number of companies that have suffered a data security breach is astounding; in retrospect, the thought of someone having access to all of your personal data is terrifying. Even a medical patient’s pacemaker is not safe from a potential cyber attack. This is why companies are now developing methods with the hopes of deterring data breaches and hackers.
Credit and debit card companies have been implementing technology over the years to ensure that your financial information is safe. From signature authorizations, picture I.D.’s directly on the card, pin numbers, and the more recent EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) chip, how else can your financial information be protected?
Mastercard has been developing new technology to further keep your personal financial information, well, personal. As of 2015, Mastercard had the largest patent portfolio in the EMV payment space, or in other words, methods of keeping your financial information secure. Mastercard is working on a fingerprint reader that works in concurrence with a card’s EMV chip to ensure that the user of the card is, in fact, the owner of the card. While making a payment using a chip reader terminal, there will be a fingerprint reader that is positioned on the opposite side of the card. The chip terminal will be interacting with the EMV chip to create the transaction information, and the fingerprint reader will be checking the user’s fingerprint against a stored profile of the card owner. If the fingerprint doesn’t match, the transaction will be terminated. Of course, fingerprints are not impossible to steal. What about faces?
A Chinese-based startup, Face++, is a company that working on the forefront of facial recognition technology. They currently have developed technology that not only provides 99% accuracy in facial recognition, but also allows a user to authorize a payment with his/her face. The software tracks 83 different points of a user’s face, including a “liveness” test, which requires a user to prove that he/she is not just an image by speaking or moving while the system scans the face. This facial recognition software is already being used in various different ways. Alipay, a mobile payment application used by 120 million people in China, makes it so users can send money to each other using just an image of their face. Chinese authorities are even using the software to identify suspect criminals in videos from surveillance cameras.
Being a part of the connected era has its pros and cons. As we become more connected, we have to take more precautions in ensuring that our identities, financial information, addresses, pet’s names, and even our intellectual property secure from the hands of cyber criminals. While we wait for software companies to develop different methods of keeping our personal information safe, do not wait on getting your intellectual property protected. Speaking with an intellectual property specialist or attorney will provide you with the best opportunities in securing the patent, trademark, and/or copyright rights for your business. Don’t let your invention end up in the hands of others. You wouldn’t want someone stealing your money; protect your intellectual property today!
Author: Dan Truong, Legal Assistant & Researcher