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Biometrics or emojis and URLs? Better online identity verification needed

Biometrics or emojis and URLs? Better online identity verification needed

The use of social media sites as hubs for services from banks and other businesses is creating demand for better identity verification, possibly with biometrics, to combat fraud, according to a new report.

Paymnts published its latest Future of Identity Report in collaboration with AU10TIX.

In June, AU10TIX released a new unified digital identity platform to enhance image-based identity verification.

Therefore digital identity verification spending is expected to grow; a study by Think Digital Partners predict that spending will reach $16.7 billion by 2026 compared to the $9.4 billion projected in 2021. Furthermore, remote onboarding adoption will drive global spending on digital identity verification to $16.7 billion in 2026 and the total number of identity verification checks more than doubles from 45 billion in 2021 to 92 billion five years later.

Social media app Tik Tok recently announced a change in the company privacy policy which now enables collection of biometric information like voice and faceprints, though other audio or visual information is already accessible via users’ backgrounds.

Letting fraudsters proliferate is problematic for companies even beyond transactions, for example through false reviews which can damage reputation. Over 300 groups that perpetuated false reviews on social media were flagged by Amazon within the first three months of 2020, but social media sites took an average of 45 days to address these issues.

Therefore, social media firms will need to adjust authentication strategies accordingly, says Paymnts, by being able to rapidly detect faked user activity.

Creating more robust safeguards will not only make sites more attractive as they are building a user base, but also gain consumer data trust, as well as reassure them that they are interacting with legitimate entities, according to Sudan Sethuramalingam, Twitter’s head of Service Technology and Scaled Operations.

Digital identity via an emoji-based URL

An alternative idea for online identity verification comes from a combination of the URL-based concept of decentralization and emojis.

While the movement towards decentralization in digital ID has not yet been able to successfully market privacy advantages to the mainstream, URL platform Yat hopes to solve this problem by letting people purchase emoji-based domains via an algorithm, as an online identity product, writes TechCrunch.

“We are going to continue to pursue progressive decentralization until we achieve our ultimate goal: making Yat the best self-directed, self-sovereign identity system for all,” says Yats CEO Naveen Jain, a Y Combinator alumnus, founder of digital marketing company Sparkart and angel investor.

The whole idea of Yat is that people should be able to use it like an online identity, including sending messages and payments, or logging into a platform.

A one-time purchase from Yat, which owns the Y.at domain, will give users a y.at link for between $4 and over $400,000 (strings of only one or two emojis are the most expensive). Jain says the company ultimately plans to move its assets to blockchain technology to support self-sovereign identity (SSI). Yats would reside on decentralized, distributed databases, instead of the domain name system, which URLs are based on today.

A blockchain domain name system would have no central authority, and some believe this could be the foundation of a next-gen web, or ‘Web 3.0.’ Yat further plans to launch on Ethereum.

Until the platform becomes more decentralized, it is unable to give users self-sovereignty, and Yat still has the power to terminate or suspend users as per the terms of service. Until Web 3.0 is realized (an unknown time frame), the company will not be able to implement a full decentralization policy.

“As Yat becomes more decentralized, our terms and conditions won’t be important. This is the nature of pursuing a progressive decentralization strategy,” says Jain.

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