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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

My voice is my passport

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

I’ve always been fascinated by security; it’s probably derived from my love of spy and heist movies. Touch ID is my favorite feature on the iPhone 6, and I’d be really psyched for Apple to bring it to the Mac too.

Given all that, I think it’s awesome that the latest update to my bank’s iOS app adds its own built-in biometric security.1 You get your choice of two different types: face recognition or voice recognition.2

But the best part is that clearly someone at the vast institution that is my bank–someone in a position of some authority no less–is a nerd. Because when you enable voice recognition, it asks you to record a phrase. Namely, this one:

Look familiar? If you’re a fan of one of my favorite movies, the 1992 Robert Redford techno-heist flick Sneakers–as all right-minded people should be–then you’ll remember that it’s more or less the same phrase used for a biometric voiceprint door in the lead up to the film’s climactic finale.

That said, I’m not sure how much I’ll end up using the voice authentication–the face-based version or the standard PIN entry seem like they’ll still be faster. It’s a little surprising to me that the app hasn’t yet added support for Touch ID, but I know the bank is investigating it–given that they have an Android app as well, I’m sure they have to consider cross-platform implementation issues.

Regardless, I’m relieved that my bank security is now good enough that all I have to worry about is going on an awkward date in a Chinese restaurant with a woman I met online who is secretly trying to record my voice and claims to love the sound of the word “passport.”

  1. My bank is remarkably good at adopting advanced security methods. I had two-factor authentication set up there well before any other site. 
  2. Biometrics weren’t available in Massachusetts at launch, but they showed up today; I believe they’re being rolled out across states gradually. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]

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