Microsoft has unveiled a new feature known as Face Check within its Entra Verified ID service. Aimed at empowering organizations with a secure way to verify individual identities, Face Check leverages facial verification technology, a distinct process from the more controversial facial recognition systems.
How Face Check Enhances Security
The mechanism underpinning Face Check involves a comparison between a live selfie of an individual and their pre-existing Verified ID, which could include photos from official identification such as a driver's license or passport. To ensure authenticity, Microsoft has implemented a “liveliness” check that thwarts attempts to use static photos in place of a real person. The service's algorithm extracts facial features to determine a “confidence score”, indicating the likelihood of a match based on positions of the eyes and nose specifically. By default, Face Check considers scores above 70 percent as a positive match, though organizations have the flexibility to adjust this threshold.
Face Check draws upon the Azure AI Vision Face API to enable face detection and verification. Microsoft has taken steps to train this technology using a diverse dataset including 5,490 participants from various demographic groups, aiming for fairness and inclusivity in its application.
The Backbone: Microsoft Entra Verified ID
Microsoft Entra Verified ID, the foundation for Face Check, has been commercially available for over a year. The service is part of Microsoft Entra, the replacement of Azure Active Directory It capitalizes on blockchain technology and decentralized identity principles, giving individuals control over their digital identity. Those using Verified ID maintain their information via a cryptographic key, ensuring that they are the sole custodians of their personal data. The identities are stored and accessed through digital wallets, with Microsoft Authenticator being one option.
Recognizing the importance of interoperability, Microsoft has built Verified ID to align with open standards and anticipates compatibility with other identity verification systems developed by third parties. Considering future collaborations, Microsoft has indicated plans to enhance Face Check further to integrate verified work history and legal entity verification through its APIs, in partnership with companies including LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Au10tix, and IDEMIA, as well as Dun & Bradstreet.
Currently in a free preview stage, Face Check will eventually be a paid service, with Microsoft estimating a cost of $0.25 per transaction once it moves beyond the testing phase. As organizations increasingly seek secure and private means of verifying identities, Microsoft's Face Check presents itself as a consent-focused solution in the expanding arena of digital identity management.