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Now Click a Selfie to Make Payments


The introduction of MasterCard’s new technology “Selfie Pay” may sound the death knell of passwords. Passwords have become a cause of great inconvenience when it comes to online shopping. MasterCard had commissioned a survey of 10,000 people, and the findings support the hypothesis that bio-metrics will be the future of online authentication. According to the survey results, 53 percent of the shoppers waste on an average 10 minutes per week in resetting account passwords. Another important problem is that a lot of online shoppers discontinue the transaction owing to not being able to remember the password. Since the payment page lapses after a certain time, they have to reconnect, which in turn leads to large dropouts for merchants.


With this new technology called MasterCard Identity Check, shoppers would be able to pay for things by simply clicking a selfie. For someone shopping using mobile phone, payment authentication would be done by mapping the selfie taken with a stored with MasterCard. Obviously the selfie taken has to be a clear picture of the person’s face without anyone else in the shot. To ensure that no one uses someone’s picture, the mechanism asks for the person to blink. MasterCard wants to make the already available facial recognition technology more robust and fool proof. The company is already running trials to gauge the viability of Selfie Pay. It is being tested on a group of 200 employees at First Tech Federal Credit Union in California. A second three-month trial is being conducted with a group of 750 ABN Amro credit card users in the Netherlands. MasterCard has ensured that it would not be saving actual pictures of people, rather only use algorithms for the mapping process.

Whether the concept of paying bills by clicking selfies will prove successful from a security perspective is yet to be seen from the outcome of the trials. But the idea is definitely a cutting edge exploration of bio-metrics.


Medical Identity at Risk


The healthcare industry has undergone rapid digital transformation over the last decade. Technology has enabled healthcare providers to use networks to store and share medical resources. Innovations like virtual healthcare have been a major step towards disseminating access to quality healthcare to the masses.  But here lies the catch. All this digitization has led to the electronic storage of a great number of medical information and health records. People share their medical information on virtual healthcare platforms. At the same time healthcare providers store a vast amount of patient data to enrich their knowledge networks.

This plethora of personal data is an easy target for hackers as the healthcare industry has not taken any stringent steps towards data security. Medical identity theft can be far more dangerous with serious financial repercussions for the victim. If someone’s credit card information is hacked, the breach is easier to figure out and the card can be blocked. However, one’s medical history is permanent and once stolen, it can be put to many criminal uses. Many such frauds include false insurance claims and fake prescriptions, which can leave the victim’s health records permanently tarnished.

It is indeed true that digitization can help in cost cutting and increased efficiency, however at the same time confidentiality of private data should not be compromised. In an age where security of personal data is of prime importance to everyone, it is quite shocking to see the vulnerabilities that exist in the healthcare industry.

There is a huge scope and need to enhance the security of medical databases. Some ways to do this are to strengthen data encryption mechanisms and make notification system more robust. If people lose trust in the ability of healthcare systems to secure private data, they may stop sharing their private information altogether, and this would ultimately lead to collapse of the technological transformation of the health care system.


Graham, M. (2015) How networks are driving innovation in healthcare

Ollove, M. (2014) The Rise Of Medical Identity Theft In Healthcare


Radcliffe, S. (2015) Patients Beware: Hackers Are Targeting Your Medical Information