Microsoft has recently introduced an innovative feature named Face Check to its Entra Verified ID digital identity platform. This innovative facial recognition tool is designed to offer businesses an advanced level of security by enabling the comparison of a user’s live selfie with their official government ID or employee credentials. The introduction of Face Check aims to bolster security measures for critical operations such as password recovery and access to help desk services, eliminating the need for extensive custom coding for its integration.
What Is Face Check?
Ankur Patel, the principal product manager for Entra Verified ID at Microsoft, shared insights with VentureBeat, emphasizing the company’s strategy to collaborate with leading verification providers. This collaboration is intended to simplify the process for businesses and developers to incorporate top-tier verification services, such as government ID and legal entity verification, into their systems. By leveraging partnerships instead of competing in the already saturated market, Microsoft aims to offer a privacy-focused, real-time biometric verification solution that adheres to open standards, ultimately providing enterprise-level verification along with enhanced security, compliance, and privacy.
Enhancing Security with Facial Verification
Face Check operates by utilizing Microsoft’s Azure AI technology to conduct a privacy-minded comparison between a user’s live selfie and their verified photo ID. This process ensures that only the results of the match, rather than any sensitive biometric data, are shared with the application performing the verification. The service, which is currently in preview, marks a significant step forward in the realm of digital identity verification, offering a consent-based solution distinct from the more contentious facial recognition technologies associated with surveillance by law enforcement or government entities.
Microsoft distinguishes between facial verification, as employed by Face Check, and facial recognition, highlighting that the former is a consent-based process aimed at confirming an individual’s claimed identity. This approach has already demonstrated its utility in preventing impersonation attempts, as evidenced by the experience of help desk services provider BEMO, which successfully used Face Check to avert potential employee impersonations during the administrative credential granting process.
Future Developments and Partnerships
While Face Check is presently free during its preview phase, Microsoft plans to implement a charge of $0.25 per transaction in the future, with further details on billing models to be announced. The company has also outlined partnerships with key identity services providers, including LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Au10tix, and IDEMIA, to enhance the Face Check offering. These collaborations will extend the capabilities of Microsoft’s API, incorporating verified work history and legal entity verification among other features.
The technical workings of Face Check involve a sophisticated verification process that compares a real-time selfie with the user’s Verified ID document, such as a driver’s license or passport photo. This process includes a liveliness check to prevent the use of static images for impersonation. Microsoft has designed Face Check to focus on specific facial features to generate a confidence score indicating the likelihood of a match, using a threshold similar to that of Windows Hello, its biometric authentication system.
Face Check’s underpinning technology, the Azure AI Vision Face API, has been meticulously developed and assessed for fairness, trained on a diverse dataset to ensure accuracy across different gender and ancestry groups. This initiative is part of Microsoft’s broader Entra Verified ID system, which employs a decentralized blockchain ledger to empower individuals with control over their identity information, enabling them to present or revoke it as needed. The system supports storage and presentation of Verified IDs through digital wallets, including the Microsoft Authenticator app or those created using Microsoft’s Wallet SDK, emphasizing Microsoft’s commitment to open standards and future interoperability with other identity verification systems.
Featured image was created with the assistance of DALL·E by ChatGPT