A UK-based ebusiness website is pioneering the use of voice authentication technology on its payment system to make internet and Wap shopping more secure.
EarthPort.com has licensed Tespar (time encoded signal processing and recognition) technology from voice authentication and signal processing company Domain Dynamics. The technology will enable users to access their EarthPort account through Wap mobile phones or PC terminals using their own voice as an extra security measure.
The system, known as voice key encryption (VKE), avoids users having to memorise PIN numbers and passwords. Instead, the user's identity is verified during a simple verbal exchange that takes place while making a transaction.
Tespar identifies a person's speech using a small user template and algorithm footprint, requiring only tiny amounts of data transfer time over either a dial-up internet or mobile phones connection.
Users register their personal banking or credit card details only once free of charge, making ecommerce more secure because all data is kept on EarthPort.com's secure server.
No payment or credit card details are transmitted over the internet as EarthPort.com transfers the payment directly to the merchant's account.
The only information the merchant receives is the shipping address for the goods to be sent and payment confirmation.
Ian Taylor, director of Domain Dynamics, said: "Tespar can have an enormous impact on improving the security and removing the tedious aspects of ecommerce transactions.
"It is efficient and secure in verifying that a speaker is who he or she claims to be, even if that person has a cold, a tooth out, or even had a few to many to drink."
Neil Garner, head of prototype development at ecommerce consultant Consult Hyperion, said voice recognition methods are not as secure as using a smartcard or a PIN to authenticate transactions.
"If you're using voice authentication over a mobile phone there is a strong possibility of false alarms, where the system doesn't recognise you," he said. "However, talking to a website is a nice way to do things for consumers."
Garner said voice authentication is particularly suitable where there is a existing interactive voice response system or in conjunction with a microphone on set-top boxes.
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