Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Big Data for Courts – Identification (ID) Verification

This is the first of what we think will be many articles on how courts will use or be impacted by the concept of “Big Data”.


As my IT friends know, there have been a lot of new technology “fads” over the past 50 years.  And sometimes just because a particular new technology can do something, one should ask whether it the best way to do it or, is it a solution looking for a problem.

Over the past year we have been looking, and recently discovered a “Big Data” idea that can be useful to the courts.  Government Computer News published an article on January 27, 214 titled “Indiana combats tax refund fraud with ID verification”.

ID verification?  I must learn more; because for more than two decades courts have been telling me that they can’t possibly provide E-filing or electronic access to the self-represented because they need a person’s signature to authenticate the filing.

Well according to the article, Indiana’s tax authority is using the LexisNexis InstantID service to verify a filer’s identity.  InstantID “identity-based filters will screen tax refund requests against what the company described as billions of identity records culled from public databases and commercial sources.”  Sounds like a “Big Data” application to me.

The article goes on to state that “(th) department anticipates that 90 percent of the returns seeking refunds will go through the LexisNexis system with no problem. The other 10 percent of the filers will be asked to take an online quiz to further verify their identities.”
Hey… the courts could do that also to verify filers, right?  And the idea of providing an online quiz is a great idea to supplement the verification system to further reduce the need for manual clerk verification.

And as I have mentioned before here in the CTB, I have never seen any judge or court staff member receive training to become a forensic document examiner like Drew Max on the History Channel television show, “Pawn Stars” (here is an interview article on how he approaches that work if you are interested).

So, if self-represented filer identity is a perceived problem stopping your E-filing project, check InstantID out.  It might be a good "Big Data" solution for your court?

Last, a shout out to the blog staff at GCN who posted a note about our CTB article on Apple iBeacon technology that they called Disorder in the court - Check your beacon. Thanks for the recognition!


  1. This article is a great source of information...By the way, Looks like the predictions in the 1981 book by Joel Garreau "Nine Nations of North America" came true. You should read it (If you haven't) it's a great book.

  2. Update on the link to the interview of Drew Max: