Deciding Between Active or Passive Liveness Detection: Your Guide

Liveness detection, also known as face liveness, is a special security feature that tells apart real people from fake ones to prevent trickery or hacking. There are two kinds: active and passive. Each type has its own pros and cons that you should consider before deciding which one to use for your situation.

What Is Active Liveness Detection?

Active liveness detection is a technique that requires activity from the user, such as nodding, blinking, or performing other facial movements. It helps to detect natural movements that can’t be mimicked easily by a computer or another type of fraudulent system. 

It works on a frame-by-frame technique that focuses on biometric authentication and advanced artificial intelligence. In this way, it provides a high-security protection level that should keep you safe and minimize long-term issues. Just a few benefits of this unique approach induce:

  • High Security: Since you’re doing something active with the system, this method provides a high level of protection that minimizes or even eliminates the risk of spoofing or faking an identity.
  • Regulatory Support: Many government or data-heavy corporations need active liveness detection to create the highest possible security and meet regulatory standards. 
  • Active Design: With the most active design on the market, this method helps to reduce the risk of spoofing by making it impossible for someone to fake your identity.

Active liveness detection technology is often used in financial companies, healthcare services, government and law enforcement organizations, and sensitive tech fields. While a great fit for these firms, there are some drawbacks that you should know before trying it:

  • User Frustration: Though active liveness detection is very accurate, there may be times when it doesn’t properly read a person’s actions and cause frustration. 
  • Complex Setup: It can be harder and more expensive to set up active liveness detection, which may be a deterrent for businesses with less severe security needs. 
  • Speed: Some users might get frustrated with active liveness detection because it’s naturally a little slower to process movements, though the difference is usually quite small.

Though these downsides are concerning, they’re quite small compared to the benefits of active liveness detection. That said, it’s still important to examine passive liveness detection techniques because there are many unique benefits that this service may provide you, especially if you don’t have very intensive security needs.

What is Passive Liveness Detection?

Passive liveness detection is exactly what its name suggests: a system that operates in the background and doesn’t require specialized action from the user. Its artificial intelligence continually monitors a user’s facial movements and other factors to authenticate their identity. 

It captures a single image of the user, including skin texture, depth, 3D face mapping, and other environmental factors. It then continually monitors a person’s facial expressions to make sure it’s the right person using a system. The benefits of this approach include:

  • Great User Experience: This technique is typically far quicker than active liveness detection and doesn’t require any special movements or actions to authenticate a person’s identity. 
  • Efficient Operation: Passive liveness detection is far quicker and typically processes people faster, minimizing waiting times and improving their overall experience. 
  • Diverse: You can typically install this system in just about any business and provide fast and effective identity verification that will keep employees and customers safe. 

This verification method is expected in e-commerce, online shopping, telecommunication, and user onboarding scenarios. It’s simply faster and better for these situations. That said, there are downsides to this approach that you need to consider before trying it, including the following:

  • Lower Security Protection: Don’t use passive liveness detection in businesses that require high security, such as government work or sensitive data handling scenarios. 
  • Privacy: In some situations, passive liveness captures images without a user’s intent, which may raise security concerns or even privacy violations in some people. 
  • Engagement Issues: While passive liveness works well in areas where engagement isn’t necessary, it isn’t suitable for situations in which more active verification is critical for a business.

Making a Smart Choice 

Whichever option you choose, it’s important to talk with your liveness detection provider about the best practices for each method. Often, they can provide you with more in-depth information about these systems, including how to handle them properly with minimal complications.

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