Mobile Carrier Docomo Enables Biometrics
Japan's leading mobile operator, NTT Docomo Inc., said it plans to allow users to access services (including books, games, music and deliveries), and make payments using iris recognition or fingerprint authentication.
Docomo said it expects to become the world’s first mobile operator to integrate services with smartphones capable of FIDO-enabled, multiple biometric authentication. The Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance is driving the effort to standardize password-less online authentication based on cryptography and biometric technologies.
Docomo has been working to integrate FIDO-enabled biometric authentication into its smartphones since last year. The company is now deploying and enhancing mobile network services equipped for biometric authentication based on the FIDO 1.0 protocol.
The company said in a statement that it will lend its expertise in this field to contribute to FIDO’s standardization initiatives and the effort to create an increasingly strong and secure authentication ecosystem.
Docomo's mobile biometric authentication service utilizes the San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sense ID biometrics platform alongside biometric sensors from a third party. Docomo expects to launch its online authentication service with smartphones from Sharp and Fujitsu utilizing the Snapdragon Sense ID biometrics platform this week and plans to expand its biometric authentication offering to additional high-end devices this winter.
"By collaborating with Qualcomm Technologies on the deployment of the Snapdragon Sense ID biometrics platform, our customers can now unlock their phones without having to key in a pincode, and can make mobile payments with a quick glance," Seiji Maruyama, senior vice president and managing director of the product department for NTT Docomo, Inc. said.
The Snapdragon Sense ID biometrics platform consists of QTI's secure authentication framework and QTI's certified implementation of the FIDO Alliance Universal Authentication Framework protocol. The authentication framework provides processing and storage of biometric data, whereas QTI's UAF implementation provides secure authentication and connection among FIDO-enabled devices and services. Qualcomm SecureMSM technology manages the platform.
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S6 edge and Sharp’s Aquos Zeta recognize fingerprints while Fujitsu’s Arrows NX reads a user’s iris. What’s new is that Docomo now accepts biometric data for online shopping.
Maruyama said Docomo plans to increase the number of handsets containing biometric authentication functions, especially on its high-end models. But he said it will be difficult for Docomo’s iPhone subscribers to use the same biometric service since Apple has its own biometric system.
Payments through biometrics will become more common from now on, so rival carriers will probably follow Docomo’s move.
“This is a service that others don’t provide for now, I think it is a big advantage for us even if it might be only for six months or one year,” Maruyama said.
Google and Samsung are among 16 companies with products certified under two "password-less" authentication specifications. Microsoft will also be applying FIDO’s biometric authentication technology for its next operating system or Windows 10.