Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Online Identity, Verified?


During the fantastic Law and Courts in an Online World conference in Melbourne, Australia the subject of online identity verification came up.  So I looked to see what services are potentially available to E-filing services and courts?


A concern of many courts is that the online identity of an E-filer cannot be confirmed.  Now besides the fact that in the vast majority of instances, the identity of persons physically filing at the court is not checked.  This "fear" has been used to delay or avoid e-filing and other online services.  And it is also used as an excuse to continue on insisting that handwritten signatures are needed.  Most important, this concern is also used to justify preventing originating (case initiation) filings from the self-represented.

But as with many things, the online world has changed, so the ability to verify email and, at least partially, a person’s identity is now a reality.  This capability is called “Know Your Customer” or KYC.

A technique that all of us have used is the return/verification email.  This is done in case someone is creating an account/filing using another person’s email address.  Of course, if they have gained access to the email account or created a fictitious account this does little good.  In other words, it works for honest people.  But there are additional questions that can ask such as requesting a credit/debit card number and verification code.  However, this does create a barrier for those who do not have or wish to use a credit/debit card.

So one solution being provided by these services uses social network data.  For example, Facebook Connect has been around since 2008.

WhatIs.com writes: “When a user chooses to access a third-party website through Facebook Connect, they allow that website to retrieve the information they have given to Facebook, including their full name, pictures, wall posts, friend information, etc. This not only allows the user to skip the basic registration steps required by most websites, but it also allows the website to update the user's Facebook wall and news feed with their activities.”

So if the filer wants to use Facebook as their verification, it could be their choice?

But what about facial recognition?  I suppose that this is one "method" that is used for verifying in-person filing?  It is now available online.  One service, “I AM REAL” has: Video Face Validation™, that is “a complementary service for validating the true face of the user. A ten seconds video of the user is taken in real time, and our algorithms compare the claimed user photo to the taken video, in addition to voice matching the video and a random voice challenge.”

Another service, a relatively new company called Trulioo works with data collected internationally.  They purport to leverage “200 trusted, specifically aggregated and licensed data sources including; credit bureaus, electoral rolls, government issued, public and private data, telephone/utility records and watch lists to verify the information your customers provide.”

And not surprising the USA credit bureaus have entered into this space.  One of the three largest, Experian, sells “Prescise ID(SM) for Identity Screening”.  It “automates the authentication process during high-risk transactions. With the identity verification services this tool offers, businesses can conduct a quick and accurate risk assessment prior to expanding relationships with consumers or approving account-level activities.”

And on a related note, since I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I was at a conference in Australia.  There I learned that their federal government is providing a related verification service called “VANguard Government Authentication Services” for business to government and government to government interaction.  By centralizing this capability, the government has greatly reduced costs to each agency to implement authentication.  And their own “technical security experts have specialised knowledge in a range of security technologies and policies, as well as experience across government programs and agencies.”

Last, here is a list of 11 identity verification systems to check out: http://www.pfind.com/identity-verification.

While this may or may not be of interested to your court, I thought that it was time to start the research and conversation?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Jim for that quick and comprehensive answer to this pressing question. European states tend to have civil registers, unlike the US. Therefore, the logical way to go is for a nationwide digital ID system provided by governments. Estonia seems to be the leader of the pack in this area. However, where courts are ahead of the government, as the Dutch courts are, they need to build some extra functionality to cope with this issue.