Monday Buzz: In-Your-Face Security

The growing appeal—and the weaknesses—of using selfies as a form of security. Also: where Slack may not make sense as a community platform.

Passwords can be insecure or hard to remember. Two-factor authentication can be annoying. And fingerprint scanners aren’t as common as they should be quite yet.

But you know a device that is pretty common? Your smartphone’s selfie camera.

According to The Wall Street Journal, selfies are gaining currency as a potential way to prove someone’s identity. Rather than throwing in a password, you’d take a picture of yourself, whether through a webcam or a smartphone camera. The newspaper reports that firms as diverse as Uber, MasterCard, and the Alabama Department of Revenue are using selfies as a form of identification.

While the approach is interesting and has potential benefits, some security and privacy experts raise concerns about its accuracy and what consumers have to give away when taking such photos.

Marc Goodman, a security expert interviewed by the Journal‘s Trisha Thadani, suggested that the use of selfies isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“People see this technology and presume that it is automatically safe, but in the end, it all just comes down to math,” Goodman told the newspaper. “There is nothing safer about [facial recognition], except that it rules out the challenges of password management.”

Where Slack Doesn’t Make Sense

In recent months, the prospect of turning Slack into something of a member benefit has been promising for some organizations. In particular, there’s the story of Gimlet Media, the podcasting firm that juiced engagement by opening up its company’s Slack channel to subscribers.

Rich Millington of FeverBee says that “when a sense of community is king, Slack is your castle.” But he points out an area where Slack doesn’t make as much sense: when the goal is to turn your community into a knowledge base.

“The same questions might be repeated endlessly. Knowledge is lost once it rolls off the edge of the top of the page,” Millington notes in his most recent blog post. “You lose your search traffic (which accounts for 70%+ traffic in many communities). It’s harder to shine attention on your stars or build content on top of it.”

Some definite food for thought.

Other Links of Note

Wannabe a Gmail power user? Check out this list of tips from Lifehacker.

Dropbox Paper is a fascinating choice for team collaboration, and it’s constantly improving. Last week, the company introduced a bevy of new collaboration features. Read about them on the company’s blog.

Convincing new donors to give you a chance can be like pulling teeth. Maybe the solution requires some psychology savvy. The startup Classy has a few ideas for boosting your psychological pitch.

Your next selfie could log you in. No, really. (iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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