Keep Forgetting Your Passwords? Why Not Implant Them In Your Body?
It's a common problem of our age: forgetting your password, clicking reset, then forgetting the password to your email account so that you can't access the password reset link. But the solution being offered by PayPal might be an even less appealing option.
According to The Wall Street Journal, PayPal is currently developing a range of devices that could either be injected, ingested or embedded into our bodies so that we can be identified without the need for traditional passwords.
PayPal's global head of developer evangelism, Jonathan LeBlanc, told the publication that the technology would enable "natural body identification" using bodily functions such as vein recognition, glucose levels and even heartbeats.
While fingerprints and eye scans have been used for some time now, PayPal's vision takes things to the next level - including brain implants, ultra-thin silicon chips that are implanted into our skin, and ingestible devices powered by the acid in our stomachs.
The silicon chips would contain ECG sensors able to monitor the electrical activity of our heart, and transmit this data to "wearable computer tattoos" via wireless antennae.
By supporting passwords with something physical - or 'biometric verification,' as it is referred to - internet users would have tighter security than ever before.
"As long as passwords remain the standard methods for identifying your users on the web, people will still continue to use [...] 'password123' for their secure login, and will continue to be shocked when their accounts become compromised," LeBlanc explained.
PayPal is now said to be in talks with partners to develop vein recognition technology and heartbeat recognition devices, while early prototypes of high-tech ID verification are currently being produced. However, for now it seems that PayPal's statements are just a way to position themselves as thought leaders in the market.
"I can't speculate as to what PayPal will do in the future," said LeBlanc, "but we're looking at new techniques - we do have fingerprint scanning that is being worked on right now - so we're definitely looking at the identity field."
"I ground a lot of my talks in reality, but toward the end of the presentation things get a little strange," he added.