MasterCard Eyes Facial Scans for Mobile Purchase Security

MasterCard, facial recognition, facial scanning, fingerprint scanning, credit card processing, Alibaba

An experimental project will look at how facial scans taken with mobile devices could be used for online purchase authorizations.

MasterCard is looking at using facial recognition and fingerprints as more secure and simpler ways of authorizing consumer purchases made using mobile devices. The company, one of the largest credit card processing firms in the world, will launch a pilot program this fall with about 500 customers who will use fingerprints and/or facial scans to confirm their identities with MasterCard, enabling their mobile purchase transactions to be approved without having to manually enter passwords or security codes. The initiative, which was unveiled in a July 1 report by CNNMoney, will ask customers during their mobile check-outs to hold up their smartphone and snap a photo of themselves, the report continued. “The new generation, which is into selfies … I think they’ll find it cool,” Ajay Bhalla, who heads security research for MasterCard, told CNNMoney. “They’ll embrace it.” MasterCard is conducting the scan testing because passwords that are used today can be forgotten, stolen or intercepted, which leads to data theft and losses for card issuers and retailers. MasterCard customers today can use the company’s “SecureCode” service, which requires a password when shopping online, the report continued. The service, which prevents thieves from stealing a user’s credit card information, was used for some 3 billion transactions last year, according to MasterCard.

MasterCard plans to test out the scanning identification system with the 500 customers and expand it publically once it is proven and working well, the story reported. To make that happen, the credit card company is now working with smartphone vendors to get them to build the capabilities into their phones. Users will have to download an app to use the service, according to CNNMoney.

Once enabled, a pop-up will appear that will ask for a user’s authorization via a fingerprint or facial scan after they pay for an order, the report continued. If a facial scan is chosen, users will look into the smartphone camera and blink once to activate a scan. “MasterCard’s security researchers decided blinking is the best way to prevent a thief from just holding up a picture of you and fooling the system,” the story reported. The scans are not captured as photographs but instead create a code that remains on the device to identify a user, mapping out their face and converting it to 1s and 0s that can be transmitted over the Internet to MasterCard, according to the report. The company is also experimenting with voice recognition for online transactions as well. Similar mobile scanning systems are being developed by other companies, too. In March, Chinese e-commerce merchant Alibaba revealed that it has been developing a mobile purchase security system that uses a selfie taken on a smartphone at the time of a purchase to compare to a stored photo using facial recognition software to positively identify a buyer. The system, called Smile to Pay, was demonstrated by Jack Ma, founder and CEO of Alibaba Group Holdings, at the CeBIT 2015 conference, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The facial recognition system, which is still in development, is being created to work with Alibaba’s own mobile payments system, called Alipay. The technology is being developed by Ant Financial, a subsidiary of Alibaba that also operates Alipay, which is China’s largest online and mobile payments service. Alipay has more than 300 million registered users and handles approximately 80 million transactions every day, according to the company. Ant Financial is also working a secure mobile user identification system that would require users to give a voice command with a keyword or phrase to be logged in to make a purchase, according to a report by CNBC. The system would even allow users to log in securely using a scanned image of something as unique as a tattoo or a photo of a pet, CNBC reported. Alibaba is not well-known in the United States yet, but it is growing around the world. In September 2014, the company garnered $21.8 billion on the first day of its stock sales in a then-record IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, according to an earlier eWEEK report. That $21.8 billion first-day IPO result easily eclipsed the previous record, $19.7 billion raked in by Visa International, when it went public in 2008. In comparison, Facebook made $16 billion on its IPO in 2012, and Google’s 2004 offering earned a relatively modest $1.7 billion. Alibaba sells lots of merchandise but more than anything markets mobile devices, cloud services and mobile apps. It wants to sell in high volumes to small and midsize companies in the same way Amazon sells to consumers. Ma, Alibaba’s founder, is a former English teacher who started the company in his Hangzhou, China, apartment in 1999. In China, he is being hailed as a new Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.


Tiny Ohio community seeks clues, fights fear after 6 women vanish.

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, Associated Press 12 hrs ago
In this June 24, 2015, photo, Yvonne Boggs holds a flier seeking information on her daughter, Charlotte Trego, who has been missing for more than a year, in Chillicothe, Ohio. The fate of six women, four of them dead, two missing for months, have people on edge in the small southern Ohio city of Chillicothe as relatives seek clues, seemingly in vain, to whatever hapened to their loved ones.© AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins In this June 24, 2015, photo, Yvonne Boggs holds a flier seeking information on her daughter, Charlotte Trego, who has been missing for more than a year, in …CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — The fate of six women — four of them dead, two missing for months — have people on edge in this small southern Ohio city as relatives seek clues, seemingly in vain, to whatever happened to their loved ones.

Grieving family members and nervous residents worry about a serial killer in their midst. Police say they aren’t ruling anything out, but say it’s more likely the women’s troubled histories caught up with them in deadly ways. All were drug addicts and several had prostituted themselves to feed their habit.

Police also say that because the women ran in the same circles, someone knows the fuller story.

“There’s that one person out there that has the information that’s going to break this case. We know that, we just have to get to them,” said Chillicothe police Officer Bud Lytle.

Charlotte Trego, who would be 28, has been gone the longest, missing since her mother dropped her off at an apartment in Chillicothe in early May 2014. She was into drugs and may have turned to prostitution to support her habit, said her mother, Yvonne Boggs.

“She wouldn’t go this long without calling me,” said Boggs, of Waverly, about 15 miles farther south on U.S. 23.

Tameka Lynch, 30, disappeared a couple of weeks later. Her body was found on a sand bar in Paint Creek by a group of kayakers on May 24, 2014, four days after the coroner says she likely died.

Lynch was scared of water and wouldn’t willingly have gone anywhere near a river, said her mother, Angela Robinson. She described her daughter, a mother of three, as a beautiful but naive person who was too trusting.

“Somebody just tossed her away like a piece of trash,” Robinson said.

The body of Shasta Himelrick, last seen on surveillance video leaving a gas station early on the morning of Dec. 26, was found in the Scioto River on Jan. 2. She was pregnant and had traces of painkillers and cocaine in her system. The coroner ruled her death a suicide.

Timberly Claytor, 38, was found shot death in nearby Massieville on May 29. A suspect in her death is in custody on unrelated charges.

The body of 26-year-old Tiffany Sayre, missing since early May, was found in neighboring Highland County on June 27 not far from where Lynch’s body was recovered. A cause of death hasn’t been announced. She had been hanging out earlier in the evening with men at a Chillicothe motel that has a reputation as a site for prostitution.

Police are still looking for Wanda Lemons, 38, a mother of five, missing since last fall. She was a kind person who people took advantage of, said her mother, Diana Willett.

The deaths and disappearances have spurred the creation of a task force including Chillicothe police and the Ross County sheriff’s office, the FBI, state investigators and other local law enforcement.

Nineteen people died of heroin overdoses in Chillicothe and surrounding Ross County last year, up from eight the year before. One in three people receiving addictions treatment in the county are on heroin. The most recent statewide data shows a record 983 Ohioans died of heroin-related overdoses in 2013.

Police recently announced a crackdown on drugs and prostitution in areas the women frequented. An online petition and Facebook page call for the closing of the motel Sayre had visited.

Chillicothe, a city of about 22,000 people an hour south of Columbus, was the first state capital in the early 1800s. Per capita income of $22,000 is below the state average, and nearly one in four people live below the poverty line. The community is known for a popular outdoor drama about Tecumseh, a Native American leader of the Shawnee, and is also a regular stop for presidential candidates flocking to swing state Ohio every four years.

Residents say they are locking doors more, are hesitant to go out at night and aren’t allowing daughters to walk alone.

“Things like this happen all over,” said city councilman Dustin Proehl. “But when it happens in a small community that’s so tight knit like we are, it’s happening to somebody’s brother, their sister, their cousin, their co-worker. Their schoolmate. We’re all so close.”

In this June 24, 2015, photo, Angela Robinson talks about the overdose drug death last year of her daughter, Tameka Lynch, eight days after her husband reported her missing, in Chillicothe, Ohio. The fate of six women, four of them dead, two missing for months, have people on edge in this small southern Ohio city as relatives seek clues, seemingly in vain, to whatever happened to their loved ones.© AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins In this June 24, 2015, photo, Angela Robinson talks about the overdose drug death last year of her daughter, Tameka Lynch, eight days after her husband reported…


Timmins Canadian Tire alleged gun thief arrested, charged.

CBC News Posted: Jul 02, 2015 11:37 AM ETLast Updated: Jul 02, 2015 11:40 AM ET

A Timmins man is facing multiple charges following an incident at the local Canadian Tire store that made national headlines June 17.

A Timmins man is facing multiple charges following an incident at the local Canadian Tire store that made national headlines June 17. (Timmins Police Service)

Police in Timmins, Ont., have arrested a city man accused of stealing firearms from a Canadian Tire store — along with other break-and-enter offences — after an incident that made national headlines on June 17.

Harold Nakogee, 26, faces charges of break and enter, theft, possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000 and disguise with intent.

A news release from Timmins Police says a quantity of air rifles and air guns were taken from the store. The items have not been recovered. Additional property — including several tools —  was also taken. The rough total of the items stolen from Canadian Tire was $2,300.

Nakogee was also charged in relation to two other incidents at local retailers, police said.

The charges come after a day-long incident June 17, when police locked down the area around the Timmins Canadian Tire store, as they believed an armed man was inside.

But when police went into the store later in the evening, they could not find a suspect. They said the thief escaped early in the morning, before the area was secure.

Nakogee is being held on bail and is expected to appear in court today.

With files from The Canadian Press


So what’s going on, you ask?

chrisI’m still writing from Hamilton, Ontario where I reside with my ex-partner who suffers from ‘holier than thou’ disorder and verbal diarrhea; still waiting for the local bureaucrats to get with the program and enjoying the smoggy summer weather here on the Crazy East Coast of Canada.

Third-parties of significant caliber vie for the role of President of my corporate body, “The Glass Mountain Corporation”- the umbrella company for a variety of edutainment-based proprietary pursuits I’ve designed with mothers and children in mind. Regretfully, my own little focus group must suffer without the amount of attention they want from their mother as a result of certain R&D we have endeavored to do prior to the launch of these projects.  Nice to see our work has so much interest from peripheral industries; can’t wait to see the results of our recent talks with volunteers from the United Nations and related industry.

meIn closing I give you the raised eyebrow of tentative photo booth mishaps. Ever-present are the unfortunate gold-plated lead earrings my ex-husband’s mother bought us while we rented in St.Henri, Quebec from a group of hippy revivalists straight out of Haight Street, San Francisco. I was only a girl at the time, without the wise council of my family and thus endeavored to wear them out. The weight of them made my huge earlobes dangle like those of Indigenous tribesmen.  Everyone else my age wore studs and loops, and I was the only one of my generation with a Burton Cummings hairstyle.

I leave you all with this tribute to the hairdo from the Jurassic Period:

Cash-strapped White Lake Ambulance Authority to lose biggest municipality

Scott Huebler right, discusses the current financial assessment of the White Lake Ambulance as Sam St. Amour looks through paperwork. The White Lake Ambulance authority board met on Monday Dec, 8, 2014 to discuss the authorities financial situation and employee compensation. Tommy Martino | MLive Muskegon Chronicle

The White Lake Ambulance Authority, which is partly supported by a 0.55-mill property tax on the seven communities it serves, has been strapped for cash for months, with a stack of unpaid bills and numerous creditors. The authority’s director was fired earlier this year. While an audit cleared her of taking money from the authority, she was later charged two misdemeanors for not paying into employees’ benefits.


Stephen Kloosterman | By Stephen Kloosterman |
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on June 24, 2015 at 5:24 AM, updated June 24, 2015 at 5:25 AM

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