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How many times a day are you asked to prove your identity? That number is increasing as more and more companies, apps, and organizations want to make sure that you are really you. For most of us, logging in and authenticating has become a ubiquitous part of everyday life, whether it’s accessing our banking information, email, or social media accounts. They may even text us a code or ask us to select photos, all in an effort to make sure we’re human. And actor John O’Hurley says that’s what was driving him crazy. “I’m not a robot,” jokes O’Hurley. “That’s going to be the title of my memoirs when I put all this in writing.”
O’Hurley is best known as the host of the annual National Dog Show and for playing eccentric catalog mogul J. Peterman on “Seinfeld.” But he’s also an entrepreneur, and his latest venture is a partnership with a startup that aims to make all that authentication easier and more secure using biometrics, like fingerprints, voice authentication, and facial scans. The company, Q5ID, has an easy-to-use mobile app that allows users to securely enroll and authenticate no matter where they are, complete with step-by-step instructions, often in three minutes or less.
O’Hurley says he was inspired to work with Q5ID after seeing the damage unverified users could cause. “When I saw a ‘deepfake’ the other night, I immediately started saying that it would be nothing for a CEO, someone to fake a CEO, make some kind of statement about the financial means of the company and the stock would go down.” , he explains he. “Well, he wouldn’t bounce back saying, ‘Well, it wasn’t really that person. It was a fake.'”
And now that bots outperform most authentication software, the Q5ID app will use your phone to scan your face or palm, keeping the data on your own device. At the same time, you prove to your bank, a social media platform, or any other company that you really are you. And it’s not just for businesses; Better authentication could help schools, law enforcement and government agencies reduce digital fraud, which costs Americans tens of billions of dollars each year.
The company also offers an app called “Guardian”, with the aim of revamping and revolutionizing the way missing people can be found. It’s a free download that allows subscribers to add profiles of their loved ones in case the worst happens, giving them the power to alert authorities immediately.
Ultimately, most experts predict that our use of biometrics will increase significantly in the coming years. It’s not yet clear when (or if) it will replace the clunky two-factor authentication now widely used, but biometric applications are expected to be a $185 billion industry by 2031. O’Hurley attributes the rise to the ease of use, saying it’s a hit with consumers “because it’s the last time you’d technically need a password or a username. Because it’s you.”