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Re: [ambient-light] Request for Ambient Light Sensor web developer feedback (#64)

From: Will Morgan via GitHub <sysbot+gh@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 2020 17:06:51 +0000
To: public-device-apis-log@w3.org
Message-ID: <issue_comment.created-738143374-1607015210-sysbot+gh@w3.org>
Hi @anssiko, gladly.

I've actually been working with @Joe-Palmer and @GlenHughes on the same Web-based product at [iProov](https://www.iproov.com) that uses light reflection from human features to assert identities online, similar to how Face ID works, but more secure and resistant to replay attacks and compromised devices. It is possibly the most complex and cool thing I've ever worked on and hinges on a lot of new web platform tech.

To expand upon [Joe's original message](https://github.com/w3c/ambient-light/issues/13#issuecomment-496935850), we do still rely on a good level of signal strength of light reflecting back from the user's face in order to perform authentication in a user-friendly way. The easy way to obtain this is to maximise the screen brightness, which we can do with a native app on iOS and Android. We can't currently do this on mobile (or laptop!) web.

Without that ability, one idea is to fall back to detecting the current environmental conditions and directing the user to orient themselves away from harsh lighting conditions to increase the signal strength in that way. Ideally one would be able to detect the orientation of the ambient light sensor relative to other devices but I imagine that would complicate the rollout of any standard significantly.

In real-world use cases, consider industries like banking "know your customer" requirements (KYC) and travel, and security in general. I would much prefer to scan my passport, driving license or travel document and then use my mobile device to assert my identity against that document all on the mobile web, without downloading an app. Much more than the paper based process which is painful at the best of times - try applying for a mortgage in the UK and EU, I believe the US is even more challenging!

QR codes are a slightly separate use case, but for scenarios like boarding a plane with a boarding pass, entry into events or gyms, or granting access to an Amazon locker, then having the ability to increase brightness to increase scan-ability of the displayed QR code would also help usability. Failing that we would fall back to ambient light to direct the user accordingly.

I am sure that our competitors in the eKYC space would appreciate the same, but I won't speak for them 😁

Ultimately we are for all initiatives that help close the gap between mobile web and native feature set and performance so would be happy to assist in any reasonable way.

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