The use of online activity in identity verification
A summary of our recent experience of working with the Government Digital Service (GDS) and the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) on a research project related to GOV.UK Verify.
We have recent worked with the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) and the Government Digital Service (GDS) to understand if online account verification can contribute to establishing the trustworthiness of a digital identity.
Veridu provides verification solutions based on a user’s digital footprint. By cross-referencing and corroborating key ‘facts’ contained within a user’s online accounts, we can instantly assess the credibility of an individual’s identity.
Our clients are mainly private sector organisations but we were extremely excited to do this in a government context as well… although as relative newcomers to an identity initiative that has been running since 2013, we were a little apprehensive about what to expect.
The project was kicked off in March 2016, and in a nutshell here’s what happened:
Several exploratory workshops during which we agreed (with GDS & the certified companies) a technical framework, and that it made sense to move into an Alpha phase.
April / May: Customer Insight Research
We used the amazing GDS user research lab to conduct end-user testing, highlighting that users, and in particular younger users, were willing to allow access to their social network data for identity verification purposes.
June / July: Veridu Service Testing
Processing a total of 239,594 events, we proved that online events can be used to accurately verify activity history.
During the project Veridu worked with five other participants, OIX members Cabinet Office, Verizon, LexisNexis, Experian and also with the Post Office, and three different phases. We were truly staggered and impressed by the pace at which the different tests were designed, built and tested; and the resulting learning integrated into improved versions. This was in large parts due to strong project management from GDS (imagine a “let’s meet tomorrow, not next month” attitude!), the flexibility and willingness of all involved companies to work together and, on our side, our ability to react to changes and development needs quickly. The project resulted in the recent White Paper.
Overall this has been been a tremendously positive, collaborative experience, run under OIX governance, showing innovation at internet speeds is possible — even in big organisations!