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Verify research shows social media potential



Work with Open Identity Exchange points to how online activity could be used to authenticate people for the online identity assurance service

Social media activity could make a significant contribution to the identity authentication in the GOV.UK Verify service, following a project completed recently by the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) for the Government Digital Service (GDS).

The team behind Verify has said this could help the service to cover more of the adult population, especially under-25s.

Verify blogpost rounds up the findings of the OIX project, which focused on how the certified companies that provide the initial authentication of a person’s identity could use their online activity in the process.

It carried out some user research and made use of a service developed by identity verification specialist Veridu to examine individuals’ activity on social media. This could fulfil Element E, one of the five steps in proving their identity.

The research found that the users were generally amenable to online accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn and PayPal being used to prove they are who they say they are – more so than in a previous study run in 2013-14 – and that technological developments have made the process more reliable.

More valuable

“With these advancements the activity history of online accounts is much more valuable in an identity verification context,” the blog says.

The Veridu serve showed that for 86% of the participants their online activity met the requirements of Element E.

This has prompted GDS to forecast that the move could include Verify’s coverage of the adult population by 9% overall, and by 38% for 16-25 year-olds.

GDS said it is now working on a number of projects on how to extend the coverage of the service.

The OIX says in its own report that it expects the research to lead to the development of a commercial beta service. It has recommended that Veridu works with the certified companies on building an online activity verification service that it could provide as a sub-contractor.

Image: Simon Waldherr, Creative Commons through Wikimedia

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