18 November 2022

As e-commerce continues to grow, so does the need for better security measures. To that end, online retailer giant Amazon is testing out new facial recognition technology to help verify the identities of its sellers.

Prospective sellers in the U.S. can now opt to participate in a voluntary test of Amazon’s new video call review process. According to a company post Tuesday morning, human reviewers will be available as an alternative for those who do not want to take part in the test.

Small business owners have long been asking for a more efficient verification process from online giant, Amazon. In response to this feedback, the company is taking steps to improve identity verification measures in order to combat fraud on its platform. This is just one part of a broader effort by the company to ensure a safe and secure experience for all users.

“Our test will determine whether we can achieve the same robustness of identity verification as our current processes while also providing a better experience for sellers who choose this verification process,” said Anirudh Chandrakant, director of Amazon Seller Registration Services, in the post announcing the test.

Technology giant, Amazon, has announced that it will begin using biometric data to verify the identities of its users. The move comes as the company looks to bolster security and prevent fraud. According to the firm, the biometric data will be used solely for the purpose of verifying identity and determining whether someone is a live person.

Images are encrypted in transit and at rest, the company says, noting that it adheres to applicable privacy laws and regulations.

The company similarly tested live video calls for identity verification starting in April 2020 before making that approach standard for seller onboarding.

Here’s how Amazon describes the new verification process for prospective sellers.

First, they’ll provide access to their device’s camera, and will be shown a series of steps in which images of their face and government-issued identity document are captured.

Next, the images are analyzed using machine learning models to create unique facial measurements called facial biometric data. This data is processed in real time to confirm that the prospective seller’s face matches the face on their government-issued identification document.

Once that process is complete, the prospective seller will see a pending verification page.

During the test, we will be manually reviewing the system’s decisions and verifying seller identities, and notifying prospective sellers of the decision within a few days. In the future, many of these decisions will be automated and communicated instantly.

Facial recognition technology has drawn criticism in some scenarios due to privacy concerns and the potential for bias. Amazon, Microsoft and others have stopped offering facial recognition technology to law enforcement.