What it is: Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 features facial recognition to match the rumored features of the next iPhone.
Out of all the Android device manufacturers, Samsung has taken the lead in offering premium smartphones to compete against Apple’s iPhone. The big problem with Samsung is that they often add features prematurely just to say they were first. The latest example of that short-sighted thinking appeared in the latest Galaxy 8 smartphone that offers facial recognition was an additional security measure.
The huge problem with facial recognition systems is that if they only use 2D cameras, they can only identify 2D images. That means Samsung’s facial recognition feature can be fooled by a 2D photograph of a valid person’s face.
The right way to do facial recognition is to guard against falsely detecting a photograph as a valid user. One way to do that is to detect slight movement, which a photograph wouldn’t be able to duplicate but that a real person would have to do. A second approach is to use 3D cameras that can capture and detect in three-dimensions.
For pictures, a 3D camera could capture more lifelike images. However, for facial recognition, a 3D camera could detect the flatness of a photograph or smartphone screen and not be fooled. Such 3D cameras could easily tell the difference between a photograph and a real person because it could detect the dimensions around a person’s face.
With more accurate facial recognition, 3D cameras could then be used in addition or instead of fingerprint recognition. Both would be accurate enough to identify a valid user and the combination of the two would be far more difficult to trick.
So for real security, you don’t want to rely on half-baked facial recognition features like those pre-maturely released by Samsung. You want 3D cameras and movement detection to make facial recognition as accurate and as difficult to fool as possible.
Advanced features alone are useless if they don’t work properly. Perhaps Samsung’s next smartphone model will offer far more secure facial recognition features. Until then, facial recognition may be fine, but don’t rely on Samsung’s current implementation to provide real security in its present form.