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You can tell a lot about a person from their facial features and expression — whether they’re pleased or frustrated, for example, and their relative age and weight. That’s why popular smartphones employ facial recognition as their authentication method of choice, and why Palo Alto-based identity-as-a-service provider Jumio’s new product offering — Jumio Authentication — uses facial data to verify users’ identities.

Jumio Authentication, which formally launches today, is a tool that lets businesses prove users are who they say they are. It combines biometrics for identity proofing and “ongoing” 3D face authentication, courtesy of Nevada-based biometric company FaceTec’s Zoom 3D Face Login technology. Users first snap a photo of their driver’s license, passport, or ID card and then use a mobile device camera or webcam to capture their faces. In the course of authentication, Jumio Authentication compares the “selfie” — a 3D face map containing 100 times the liveness data of a 2D photo — with the picture on the aforementioned ID, and retakes the selfie for good measure.

But wait, you say — haven’t researchers proven that facial authentication is relatively easy to circumvent? Jumio’s thought of that, apparently. Quality assurance testing company iBeta subjected Zoom 3D Face to 1,500 spoofing sessions and says it wasn’t able to fool the system once.

Jumio is pitching Jumio Authentication as a quick, convenient security solution for rental car companies, hotels, online exam providers, and others.


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“As more of our important interactions move online, establishing trust digitally has become critical,” said Jumio CEO Stephen Stuut. “Jumio is pioneering selfie-based authentication to allow businesses to leverage biometric user data captured during enrolment and re-verify that data in the future. With our new selfie-based authentication, users are not required to repeat the identity proofing process again — they just take a quick selfie — and as the digital chain of trust grows, so does the security level.”

Jumio has come a long way since March 2016, when it emerged from bankruptcy as it was being investigated by the government after restating its 2013 and 2014 financials. It’s now owned by private equity firm Centana Growth Partners and says its premiere product — Netverify — has helped verify more than 160 million identities for close to 400 customers, including Airbnb, Coinbase, United Airlines, and Instacart. The company also claims that annual recurring revenues were up 289 percent from $18 million in the second quarter of 2016 to $70 million in Q2 2018, and that it employs over 2,800 people across offices in India, Austria, the U.S., and the U.K.

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