Eye recognition to stop credit card fraud

As demand for security systems to combat fraud and control access to buildings looks set to soar, eye recognition technology is to be used for the first time in credit card verification.

Korean-based internet security specialist Senex Technology has developed the world’s first iris credit card verification system, TrueEye. The company has signed an agreement with UK firm Vision Security to market the technology.

TrueEye quickly recognises and authenticates credit cards and settles transactions by matching the cardholder’s iris against a stored image. The iris recognition camera is more secure than signatures or photocards, and the technology will eliminate the need for people to remember passwords and pin numbers, the firm said. It is also expected to dramatically reduce cases of card theft and abuse.

When the customer places his or her eye close to the central lens of the system, an infrared camera digitises the iris pattern into a black and white photograph. This pattern is then formed into a code, which is registered on to a database.

The system will be used by shops and online retailers, and is also likely to be used as a security measure for hospitals, offices and restricted areas. Demand for security systems to control access to buildings has grown dramatically since September 11, said Namgoong Chong, president of Senex Technology.

’The market [for iris recognition technology] will increase dramatically in response to the rapid growth of the worldwide credit card market, internet shopping malls and the rising interest in the security of apartments equipped with internet capabilities,’ he said.

TrueEye can recognise the characteristics of an iris through contact lenses, glasses or at night. It uses only 128 bytes of memory to extract the iris characteristics, meaning a large amount of information can be stored on the system.

Senex said the system could also be used in healthcare, allowing patients to undertake a quick check-up, look up their medical history or pay private hospital bills.

Heathrow Airport announced recently it is beginning trials of a new iris-scanning technology, Jetstream, designed to improve airport security and speed up the immigration process. Passengers look into a special video camera that takes a close-up image of their irises, which is then compared with their eyes on arrival at Heathrow.

On the web