Switzerland-based WISeKey is getting into the browser business – sort of.
The company has announced a new online authentication solution called WISeID Human Browser, a piece of open source software that uses biometric authentication to identify users. It doesn’t seem to be a browser itself; rather, as WISeKey explained in a statement announcing the solution, it’s designed to establish a blockchain-based “birth certificate” to identify the user which is “embedded into existing browsers” like Chrome and Safari.
“Providers of web services will require consent and authorization from users / owners of the Human Browser, who will then get paid with WISeCoin or any other valuable token for their consent,” the company explained.
WISeKey’s announcement did not name the particular biometric modalities used, but asserted that the authentication process is “enabled by several types of biometrics”.
While there is a growing concern around online security, the WISeID Human Browser arrives at a competitive time in browser authentication, with the FIDO Alliance having launched the FIDO2 authentication standard last year. FIDO2’s WebAuthn component is designed to enable support for authentication based on biometrics and/or security key peripherals on the web, and the FIDO Alliance announced last month that all of the major browsers had enabled FIDO2 support.
Nevertheless, WISeKey’s solution speaks to the intensifying interest in extending biometric security across the digital landscape, and at the very least offers consumers more choice in how to take advantage of such security themselves.