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A New Zealand company is making the web safer by making people smile
Posted on 9-Aug-2012 18:00. | Tags Filed under: News.

Discriminating between real and fake internet profiles is now easier with a brand new webservice called Gestya. Gestya aims to solve the growing problem of fake profiles and photos being used in dating and social network sites.

Users can now use video clips called ‘Gestyas’ as video signatures for their online profiles in social networking sites, dating services or chat rooms.

Gestyas are video recordings of the user performing a series of gestures prompted and recorded by the webservice. Unlike photos or normal video clips, the ‘Gestyas’ cannot be faked or re-used by other people without the viewer being able to tell that that the video is fake.

The Gestya prompts are randomly generated and overlaid on the video so that no-one can use a fake video. If the recorded actions don’t match the prompted gestures then the viewer knows the clip is fake.

Gestya also stops bots and deters scammers, and discourages behaviour which is common with anonymity, such as trolling.

Gestya is the invention of Jeremy Wyn-Harris and was created from the desire to protect the founder’s children online in an increasingly unsafe online environment. His company is based in Christchurch, New Zealand.

This new technology is called “Challenge Validation” and can also be used in automated systems used to unlock devices (like your phone) and gain access to buildings. It’s no longer possible for someone to simply pop out your eyeball and put it in the retina scanner! Instead they must make you smile, wink and wave to gain access. Gestyas can also be used to help verify the identity of account holders in any service.

A single Gestya account can be used across many services and those services can set the frequency they require users to refresh Gestyas. The more frequently the Gestyas are refreshed the harder it is for hackers to use those accounts.

The pool of Gestya prompts are set depending on the application, with age-appropriate gestures required for children’s social networks, while adult dating services can be made more fun!

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