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Biometrics could provide a resolution to growing identity crime in the banking sector

OmniPerception : 24 September, 2009  (Technical Article)
OmniPerception is stepping up its pace in convincing the banking sector of the need to embrace biometric face recognition tools to effectively challenge the rising tide of identity theft related criminal activity
Stewart Hefferman the CEO of UK biometrics company OmniPerception has said this week that the banking industry has yet to realise the full potential of facial biometrics.

He urged the banking and biometric industries to work together to provide tailor made solutions that will protect vital data and improve security for customers.

Last year HSBC made history by becoming the first bank in the world to adopt facial recognition technology to enhance security at its data centres.

Since then it has installed facial biometric access control units into a number of its data centres through the UK to protect sensitive information that might otherwise be vulnerable to loss or misuse.

The move comes at a time when identity theft is now the fastest growing crime in the UK - affecting more than 100,000 people at a cost of £1.7m according to Home Office figures.

Recent high profile cases of sensitive data being lost by financial and also public sector organisations has highlighted the risk to individuals and to the reputation of the organisations concerned.

Recognising this problem, HSBC is working with UK facial biometric experts OmniPerception to develop a more secure access control system for their new data centres. The bank has worked closely with the company in testing and developing the right solution, based on OmniPerception's CheckPoint facial recognition product.

"HSBC has been quick to realise that facial biometrics is an effective way of protecting the bank's most valuable asset - data. OmniPerception is in talks with other banking organisations to exploit the potential more widely throughout the industry as they believe the potential for using the technology in this context has yet to be fully realised," said Mr Hefferman.

In reality, cost implications are more likely to be a reason for the slow uptake, particularly in the current climate which is testing the resolve of the entire industry.

Mr Hefferman believes that facial biometrics is seen as luxury more than a necessity and is preventing a more widespread roll-out.

"More widespread uptake would have a positive implication on the cost which would be substantially reduced if the technology was adopted by the banks. Closer working relationships between the biometric and banking industry is also vital to ensuring more widespread adoption of the technology."

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