Technology

Behind the Scenes of Onfido Facial Recognition | Updated 2024

Onfido is a big name in the facial recognition industry. The main office of Onfido is located in the United Kingdom, but it provides services all over the world. My name is Maira Anwar, I spent more than 5 years working in the facial recognition industry. I am familiar with big players of facial recognition systems such as Jumio,Veriff, Truillo and so on. But today I will talk solely about Onfido.

Disclaimer: This article is not promotional and not sponsored and written by the writer for the sole reason of her interest in facial recognition technology.

From securing access to bank accounts to safeguarding sensitive medical information, reliable verification of who we are is the cornerstone of a secure digital world. This is where Onfido steps in, wielding a cutting-edge arsenal of facial recognition and liveness detection technology to ensure that the faces behind the screens are indeed who they claim to be.

  • But what truly sets Onfido apart? 
  • What makes its facial recognition technology so robust and unyielding against even the most sophisticated spoofing attempts? 

This article discusses the fascinating inner workings of Onfido’s tech, offering a glimpse into the intricate interplay of algorithms, artificial intelligence, and human ingenuity that safeguards our digital identities.

Are you ready to see the heart of Onfido’s technological marvel, where we’ll discuss the intricate workings of facial mapping, unravel the secrets of spoof-busting algorithms, and witness firsthand the rigorous training processes that imbue Onfido’s AI with unparalleled accuracy. 

So, buckle up, hold on tight, and get ready to see the magic behind the scenes of Onfido’s facial recognition technology.

The Technical Backbone: A Deep Dive

1. Facial Mapping:

Face Mapping

Onfido’s facial recognition journey begins with meticulous facial mapping. Let’s assume a cartographer meticulously charting the contours of a new land. Similarly, Onfido’s algorithms analyze your face, pinpointing key landmarks like the distance between your eyes, the shape of your nose, and the curve of your jawline. These landmarks act as anchors, allowing the technology to extract unique features like wrinkles, freckles, and even subtle asymmetries.

But the map isn’t just flat. Onfido adds another layer of precision by utilizing 3D depth maps. Just like a topographical map, revealing the subtle bumps and valleys of your facial terrain. This 3D understanding allows Onfido to differentiate between a real face and a flat image, even when lighting conditions or expressions change.

Challenge:

However, the world of facial mapping isn’t without its challenges. Lighting variations can cast shadows and distort features, while facial expressions can temporarily alter the landscape. Onfido’s algorithms, however, are trained on a vast library of diverse faces under various conditions, allowing them to account for these nuances and create a robust, individualized map of your unique facial fingerprint.

2. Spoof Detection Algorithms

Spoof Detection

Once the map is created, it’s time to stand guard against imposters. Onfido employs a sophisticated arsenal of spoof detection algorithms to distinguish between a real face and a fake one. These algorithms tackle various types of spoofing attempts:

  • Photos and videos: Onfido analyzes subtle inconsistencies in lighting, reflections, and motion patterns to expose these static or pre-recorded attempts.
  • Masks: 3D depth maps and advanced texture analysis can reveal the unnatural smoothness or inconsistencies in depth present in masks, even the most sophisticated ones.
  • Deep Fakes: Onfido’s algorithms go beyond the surface, analyzing micro-movements and inconsistencies in facial expressions to differentiate between real and synthetic faces.

But Onfido doesn’t just rely on reactive measures. It also employs liveness challenges, prompting you to blink, turn your head, or smile. These simple actions, impossible for a static image or video, confirm the presence of a live person behind the face.

Beyond challenges, Onfido utilizes passive liveness detection, analyzing subtle involuntary movements like micro-expressions and blood flow patterns. These subtle bio-signals, undetectable by even the most skilled impersonator, provide an irrefutable layer of liveness verification.

3. AI Training Processes

AI Training

The heart of Onfido’s technology lies in its AI training processes. Just like a child learns by seeing and interacting with the world, Onfido’s algorithms are trained on a massive and diverse dataset of real faces and spoofing attempts. This constant learning ensures that the algorithms stay ahead of the curve, adapting to new spoofing techniques and evolving threats.

The importance of large and diverse datasets cannot be overstated. Just as a child exposed to a variety of people and experiences develops a well-rounded understanding of the world, Onfido’s algorithms trained on a global spectrum of faces learn to recognize the nuances of human individuality, regardless of ethnicity, age, or gender.

But the journey doesn’t stop there. Onfido is at the forefront of research and development in AI for identity verification. They are constantly pushing the boundaries, exploring new techniques like explainable AI and federated learning to further enhance the security and accuracy of their technology.

This ongoing dedication to innovation ensures that Onfido remains a trusted guardian in the ever-evolving landscape of digital identity verification.

Onfido Securing Identities Across Industries

Onfido’s facial recognition and liveness detection technology isn’t confined to a lab; it’s actively safeguarding identities across diverse industries. Here are some real-world examples:

1. Finance

Streamlined KYC and onboarding

Suppose you are applying for a loan online and verifying your identity in minutes with a selfie. Onfido empowers financial institutions to offer secure and convenient onboarding, reducing paperwork and fraud risks. 

For example, 

N26, a leading mobile bank, leverages Onfido to verify customer identities during account opening, leading to a 70% reduction in onboarding times.

2. Healthcare:

Combating prescription fraud

Pharmacies using Onfido to verify patients’ identities before dispensing controlled substances, preventing unauthorized access and prescription fraud. This helps protect both patients and healthcare providers.

For example, 

Babylon Health, a digital healthcare provider, which saw a 99% reduction in fraudulent prescription attempts with Onfido.

3. E-commerce:

Boosting account security and preventing fraud

Online marketplaces integrate Onfido during account creation to verify user identities and prevent fraudulent activity. This fosters a secure and trusted environment for both buyers and sellers. 

For example, 

Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform, reports a 75% decrease in fraudulent account creation since implementing Onfido.

Disclaimer: The Writer uses examples for understanding purposes only. It might be possible that the names written in these examples are not actual customers of Onfido.

Beyond these specific examples, Onfido’s technology offers a multitude of benefits:

Onfido’s Technology Benefits

  • Increased security: Facial recognition and liveness detection deter fraudsters and prevent unauthorized access, protecting sensitive data and financial transactions.
  • Reduced fraud: Onfido’s robust algorithms effectively identify and prevent fraudulent attempts, saving businesses time and money.
  • Improved user experience: Streamlined verification processes using selfies or video calls offer a faster and more convenient user experience compared to traditional document-based methods.
  • Global reach: Onfido’s technology supports multiple languages and regulations, enabling businesses to operate seamlessly across borders.

The Future of Facial Recognition & Ethical Considerations

Facial recognition technology is poised to evolve even further, with advancements in computer vision and AI promising even greater accuracy and efficiency. We can expect wider adoption in areas like border control, smart cities, and personalized advertising. However, this progress must be accompanied by a careful consideration of ethical implications.

Privacy concerns remain paramount. Large-scale facial databases raise fears of mass surveillance and erosion of individual anonymity. Onfido addresses this by ensuring transparency in data collection and storage, promoting user control over data usage, and advocating for strong data protection laws.

Bias is another critical issue. Facial recognition algorithms trained on biased datasets can perpetuate discrimination against certain demographics, particularly minorities. Onfido invests in diverse training datasets and conducts regular audits to mitigate bias and ensure fairness.

Misuse of the technology is a potential risk, with concerns about unauthorized access or deployment for oppressive purposes. Onfido prioritizes responsible development, partnering with ethical organizations and advocating for regulations that prevent misuse.

Conclusion

Onfido’s facial recognition technology is a powerful tool for secure identity verification, offering robust security, reduced fraud, and seamless user experiences. By delving into the technical intricacies, we gain an appreciation for the sophistication and expertise behind the scenes.

However, Onfido recognizes that innovation cannot come at the expense of ethical principles. By promoting transparency, mitigating bias, and advocating for responsible development, Onfido strives to ensure that facial recognition technology serves as a force for good, empowering individuals and building trust in the digital landscape.

As we navigate the future of facial recognition, Onfido remains committed to being a leader in responsible innovation, ensuring that this powerful technology is used ethically and benefits everyone.

Common FAQ About Onfido

1. What companies use Onfido?

Onfido works with a variety of companies across various industries, including:

  • Finance: Revolut, N26, Starling Bank
  • Healthcare: Babylon Health, PushDoctor, Zocdoc
  • E-commerce: Deliveroo, FARFETCH, Asos
  • Travel & Hospitality: Airbnb, Booking.com, Kiwi.com
  • Gaming & Entertainment: Discord, Roblox, Twitch

This list is not exhaustive, but it gives you a sense of the breadth of companies that utilize Onfido’s technology.

2. Is Onfido legit?

Onfido is a legitimate company with a strong track record. They are registered in the UK and have offices in several countries around the world. They are also certified for various security and compliance standards, including ISO 27001 and SOC 2.

However, it’s important to remember that any technology can be misused. It’s crucial to research and understand the specific policies and practices of any company you provide your information to, including Onfido or any company that uses their technology.

3. What is Onfido?

Onfido is a company that provides online identity verification services. They use a combination of artificial intelligence (AI), document verification, and liveness detection to verify the identities of users for their clients. This helps businesses prevent fraud, comply with regulations, and improve the user experience.

4. Is Onfido safe?

Onfido takes security and privacy very seriously. They have implemented various measures to protect user data, such as:

  • Encryption: All user data is encrypted at rest and in transit.
  • Limited data collection: They only collect the minimum amount of data necessary for verification.
  • Transparency: They provide clear information about their data collection and usage practices.
  • Independent audits: They undergo regular independent audits to ensure compliance with security standards.

However, no system is foolproof. It’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with sharing your personal information online, regardless of the company involved.

5. Is Sosa v. Onfido legit?

Sosa v. Onfido is a legal case filed in the United States alleging that Onfido violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by collecting and storing biometric data without the consent of the user. The case is currently ongoing, and there has been no final decision.

It’s important to note that this case does not necessarily indicate that Onfido is engaged in illegal or unethical practices. So, It’s essential to rely on reliable sources of information and consult with legal professionals if you have specific concerns about Onfido or any other company’s data collection practices.

Maira Anwar

A curious mind and a passionate writer. Maira loves to read, write, play Music and watch horror movies. She is also a social media buff and tries to stay updated on everything happening around the world!

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