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Engineering LibreTexts

2.1: Identification

  • Page ID
    45857
  • Identification - what is it?

    Identification is basically the process of someone claiming to be a specific person. They can identify themselves as “Pat,” show  an id card of some type card with a name on it or have an email address showing their name.

    In the current context of online transactions, users “identify” themselves by providing a name, an email address or phone number to a web request. For example, using a process of identification alone, as long as a buyer has the card’s proper information that is associated with the card being used, the user is pretty much accepted as is.

    A business that allows identification by itself is essentially saying, "We have no reason to doubt that you are indeed the the person you claim to be", despite having not independently verified if the information is truthful. It’s like asking, “Who are you?” and simply accepting whatever answer is given. For transactions where there is not a lot at stake, like registering for a class or checking out a book, simply having someone declare their identity without providing any verification may be good enough.

    It is becoming more and more frequent that identification alone is adequate. It’s like having a username without a password.

    So how can we determine the person is who they say they are? That’s where verification comes in.

    What is Verification?

    Verification goes beyond the basic question, “Who are you?” Identity verification goes the extra mile and asks, “Are you really who you say you are?” the response needs to provide, with a high degree of confidence that, the answer is accurate.

    The most accurate way to verify someone's identity is to request and validate more than one form of identification against the person standing in front of you, with at least one of them being a photo ID. A driver's license, a Social Security card, a valid passport, or military photograph identification are some forms of identification. Verifying someone’s identity to a high degree of certainty takes effort. At a time when service providers want to provide a “frictionless” onboarding process, some may cut corners and require a low barrier to entry. Typical social media accounts, for example, only ask new users to provide a name, email address, username and password. A phone number may be thrown in there for good measure.

    Depending on the organization and the level of assurance needed, a university ID or other non-government issued identification card may suffice for one form of ID. Identity verification in the electronic sense, also called identity "proofing" or "vetting", is used to confirm an identity where the individual is not standing before you to show some sort of picture ID. In these cases, most organizations require a real-time process that validates the personal information provided by the individual.

    Apply for an online bank account, though, and you may be expected to provide a social security number, photo ID or passport, and proof of your current address. The stakes associated with a bank account are much greater than those with a TikTok account, therefore the verification requirements are more stringent. In fact, in the financial sector alone, there are numerous regulatory acts to prevent fraudsters from setting up false bank accounts, laundering money, and other unseemly criminal activities. The compliance mandates associated with these regulations are not satisfied by traditional verification methods, which is why businesses are beginning to make a shift to pairing a customer’s identity information with one of their biometric markers at the point of onboarding.

     

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