DoCoMo takes steps to eliminate passwords, advance iris recognition technology

Rarely one to be tied to old tried-and-true technology, NTT DoCoMo is taking steps to eliminate passwords, replacing them with a slightly more high-tech option: iris recognition and fingerprint authentication.

DoCoMo announced it is now a board member with the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance, an international nonprofit organization driving the effort to standardize password-less online authentication based on public key cryptography and biometric technologies. In a related move, DoCoMo said its online services, such as books, games and music, will become password-less on May 27, allowing users to access these services and make payments using iris recognition or fingerprint authentication.

The Japanese operator also is launching Arrows NX F-04G, a smartphone that comes equipped with iris-scanning technology. With its embedded iris scanner, the Arrows NX F-04G boasts of the highest security standard, which has an error rate of 1 in 100,000, according to a Computer World report.

The highly accurate security technology makes NTT DoCoMo the world's first company to launch an iris-scan smartphone in the market, International Business Times reports.

Others are working on iris technology as well. At Mobile World Congress 2015, ZTE unveiled a smartphone with similar features, the Grand S3, The Wall Street Journal reports. Samsung Electronics also is said to be working on eye recognition technology and has filed a patent with U.S. authorities for iris scanning.

Fujitsu is set to introduce in London next month its iris-scanning technology for phones as an alternative security measure, according to SC Magazine. Fujitsu's device uses infrared LED and a special camera to snap a picture of the iris of a person's eye.

DoCoMo has been working to integrate FIDO-enabled biometric authentication technologies into its smartphones since last year. The company is now deploying and enhancing mobile network services equipped for biometric authentication based on compatibility with the FIDO 1.0 protocol.

Four smartphones in DoCoMo's 2015 summer lineup--Galaxy S6 edge SC-04G, Galaxy S6 SC-05G, ARROWS NX F-04G and AQUOS ZETA SH-03G--offer biometric authentication capability, according to a press release.

The FIDO Alliance has nearly 200 members, including Microsoft, Google, Nok Nok Labs, Qualcomm, ARM and Samsung.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal story (sub. req.)
- see this Wireless Week story
- see this International Business Times report

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