Approve Online Purchases With Facial Scan


During the past summer, MasterCard was experimenting with a new security feature: approving online purchase with a facial scan. Instead of memorizing the password, buyers must snap a photo of their face at checkout. This new feature is similar to Apple’s fingerprint scanner in a way to help stop hackers from using buyer’s card on the web. According to the company’s representative, MasterCard chose this feature in order to adapt to the new generation’s trend of snapping selfies. This technique was to be experimented with 500 customers.

Here’s how it works:
1. Download the MasterCard phone app.
2. A pop-up will ask for your authorization after a purchase.
3. You can either choose to use fingerprint scanning or face recognition; for fingerprint, all you have to do is touch the screen, and for face recognition, you have to stare at the screen and blink once.

MasterCard suggests that blinking is a way to prevent thieves from using a picture of you in order to fool the system. They also promise that MasterCard would not be able to reconstruct your face, and that the data would remain safe on the company’s computer server. Once the scan has mapped out your face, it will be converted into 1s and 0s, and the data will be transmitted to MasterCard through the Internet.
Some people believe that this technique is a threat to privacy because the user’s photo will be available along with his or her personal information. However, others argue that they are storing an algorithm, instead of an actual picture of the user.

Personal thoughts: It is true that technology like fingerprint scanning and face recognition can prevent hackers from breaking into our account and using our credit card, however, it can also threaten our privacy by revealing our true face and identity.

What do you think about using face recognition to approve your web purchases? Since many of us take selfies on a daily basis, would you enjoy using this feature? Would this be able to secure your credit card information, or would it post as a threat to your privacy?


The World’s Most Private Search Engine


Several weeks ago, our class had a homework assignment on search engines, and how some search engines filter our search results. One of the most well-known search engines that does this is Google, which filters our search results and click patterns. Well I came across a search engine that is enhanced by Google, and on their home page, it claims to be “the world’s most private search engine.” So I tried to use the search engine, and sites from my search results appears to be quite similar to those from Google. For example, when I searched the term “information science,” sites such as Wikipedia, Collegeboard, and Cornell were at the top of the search results.

Check the website out:
What do you think about this “private” search engine?

Should government use social media?


Social media has been a popular tool for people to connect with each other; it also keeps us updated with the events that are going on everyday around the world. In some countries today, social media is restricted because it is seen as a threat to the nation’s security and governance. However, in some other countries, governments are recognizing social media as a useful tool for governing. In the video attached, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi had an interview with Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg where he was asked to comment on the role of social media in government and foreign policy. In the interview, Prime Minister Modi claims that all governments should use social media due to several reasons. First, instead of using textbooks, social media is a useful tool for understanding the world; in just a short period of time, he is able to obtain the information he wanted. He also mentions that “one of the most important problems that governments have is the big gap between the government and the people. But with social media, they have daily bonding.” Social media can also “tell governments what they are doing, and it can stop them from moving in the wrong direction.”

So what are your thoughts on the effects of social media on the government?

Link to the video:

Sources and more reading: