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DoCoMo phone uses facial recognition

Leading Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo will this week introduce the first in a portfolio of devices that are serious about security.

The P903i 3G FOMA phone, which is manufactured by Panasonic and becomes available on Wednesday, is accompanied by a small, flat black card, which acts as a proximity security token.

If the handset moves too far away from the token, the handset will lock up, making it inaccessible to potential thieves.

But that is not the most interesting feature of the device. The P903i also claims to have a facial recognition feature, which, when combined with a pin code, can make the device unusable by all except the real owner.

Apparently, the user takes a number of photos of his or her face which are then stored on the device. Then in order to use the phone the user has to take another photo which the phone compares with the existing shots. If the software detects a match, the phone is unlocked.

But should the device actually get lost or stolen, the onboard GPS feature can be used to track it via the web.

This is not the first time a company has used a novel technology to secure a mobile phone. Earlier this year device management company Synchronica pitched an anti-theft technology which not only remotely locks and wipes a device, but also causes the phone to emit an ear piercing shriek.

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