Identity Requests – Let Us Count the Ways

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We use our identity documents many times per week without much thought. Verification of our identity or a specific privilege tied to our identity is so commonplace that we rarely question the request. Essentially, identity interactions are part of our daily life experiences. While most people in the US use a driver’s license, any form of Government Issued Identity Instrument (G3I) is sufficient to satisfy most identity requests. Examples of G3Is include national ID card, passport, driver’s license, state ID card, military ID, and voter ID card.

Before we can migrate identities to the digital world we must understand the many use cases.

There are three main types of identity requests:

  • Verification of identity.
  • Verification of age.
  • Verification of identity and associated driving privileges.

Proof of Identity

Proving that you are actually the person whom you claim to be is one of the most prevalent reasons for identity verification.

  • Air Travel – An individual must present a G3I to a security control agent. The agent scans the G3I to determine its validity and visually binds the G3I to the holder via the portrait. Backend systems perform travel security clearance searches using the information from the G3I.
  • Hotel Stay – Hotel staff may require travelers to present a G3I as a precondition of check-in. This validates the individual with the reservation and confirms the ownership of the credit card being presented for payment.
  • Prescription Pick-upMany US States require proof of identification when purchasing prescription drugs. The consumer must present a valid G3I. Depending on the drug, a Pharmacist may require multiple forms of identifying proof of name, address, and photo. Additionally, many states have reporting requirements on the Pharmacist.
  • Medical Office Visit – Patient needs to present proof of healthcare insurance coverage and proof of identity.
  • School Campus Entry – Many school districts verify the identity of campus visitors. A visitor inserts his/her G3I into a scanner which then validates the individual’s G3I and checks the individual against the National Offender database. The objective is to stop unwanted or unknown individuals from entering the campus.
  • New Bank Account – Federal law requires financial institutions to obtain information that identifies each individual who opens an account. The individual must provide Identity traits such as name, address, date of birth, and other information as well as a G3I for proof of identity.
  • Post Office Box Key Pickup – When renting a post office box, a person must present two (2) current forms of ID. One must include a photo and the other a residential address. Acceptable forms of ID are specified by the US Post Office.

Identity and proof of age

Proving our identity and age to participate in age restricted activities is a common type of verification request.

  • Nightclub Entry – A local night club wants to avoid expensive fines for allowing entrance to underage customers. It screens patrons at the door to verify that they are of legal drinking age and that the presented G3I is valid.If you look under 25 be prepared to show ID
  • Retail Purchases – In locations where the sale of alcohol and tobacco are age restricted, the consumer must present a G3I to the merchant as proof of age.
  • Car Rental – In addition to verifying driving privileges, most car rental companies require the renter to be over a threshold age and use the driver’s license for age verification.
  • Vending Machine Purchases – Retail vending machines of Lottery Tickets (USA) and Liquor (Japan) require a driver’s license for age verification. This is one of the only cases where a driver’s license is required for a non-vehicle related verification.

Identity and associated driving privileges

There are only a few cases where a driver’s license is the required form of G3I and they are associated with vehicles and driving privileges. An additional document is almost always required in these situations.

  • Traffic Stop – A police officer performs a roadside stop to identity the driver of a vehicle and his/her privileges. The driver must present a valid driver’s license and a vehicle registration document.
  • Traffic Accident – The police officer requests multiple forms of identification from each party associated with the accident. The requested documents are a driver’s license, vehicle registration, and in many states proof of vehicle insurance.
  • Car Rental – A person renting a vehicle must present proof of identity, valid proof of driving privileges for that vehicle class, and optionally proof of insurance if he/she desires to decline company provided insurance.
  • Automobile Purchase – Car dealers validate identity and driving privileges to avoid fraud during the sale of a vehicle and title transfer.

Any digital identity solution must handle these use cases and adapt to future needs. Identity verification needs to be fast, convenient, secure, and unalterable all while protecting citizen privacy. Find out how IBM Mobile Identity achieves this goal.

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Becky Gibson
Becky is a Senior Technical Staff Member in the Emerging Technologies Group at IBM. Her career has spanned many products and programming languages and she has contributed to both commercial and open source projects. Becky is widely recognized for her efforts in the area of Web Accessibility - making the Web usable by people of all abilities. She has now turned her attention and efforts to the area of digital identity and mobile identity solutions.
Becky Gibson
Dan Gisolfi
As CTO for Trusted Identity, Dan is focused on the development and execution of a trusted identity strategy for both citizen and corporate identity interactions using blockchain technologies. This endeavor includes the development of a formal IBM Mobile Identity offering, the definition and development of a trusted identity reference architecture, and the creation of devops tools that streamline the delivery of trusted identity solutions for clients.
Dan Gisolfi
Dan Gisolfi

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