Identity was once a fairly simple procedure. If you were born in the US, you would be issued a birth certificate that would be your very first verifier of identity. Later, when you learned to drive, you would get a license issued from a local institution. You would also be able to purchase a passport, if you were lucky enough to be able to afford travel abroad. Nowadays, though, these simple (but time-consuming) protocols have been thrown out in favor of a slew of digital techniques to help verify and provide an identity.

This article is about how all of this works in the digital age.

New Technologies

The first way to emphasize the changes in the identity industry – and yes, it is a whole industry – is to consider some of the huge advances in technology we’ve seen in the first 19 years of this century. Let’s take a quick look at how far we’ve come:
• Password Username – The enduring model for emails, social media and other accounts, with ‘second-factor’ authentication usually linking to a phone number or a security question.
• Call-in Verifiers – If you’ve ever been stuttering on the end of the phone trying to remember a ‘memorable place’ you selected as an identity verifier, you have experienced this form of identity authentication.
• Digital IDs – Discussed at length by the US government, but only currently enabled in smaller countries such as Estonia. Difficult to roll-out presently.
• Biometrics – The sci-fi future of the identity space, you’ll already have found your identity being verified in this way if you use an iPhone. Retina scans, fingerprint recognition, and even voice recognition, are said to be the future in this space.

Nevertheless, the truth is that all of these systems mask an overwhelming complexity that happens on the back end of digital processes. There’s much that can still be done to improve on these systems.

Simple Alternatives

One of the finest alternatives to emerge in recent years is also one of the simplest – the ability to check a government-issued physical identity card in real time, online. This document ID verification method has been rolled out across a range of industries – from finance to health – in an effort to ensure that institutions are dealing with a real identity who can be held accountable of their actions.
Of course, this method requires some onboarding if you’re considering using it for your own company – but this is made easy by open API infrastructure that can plug-in to your existing back end systems with ease.

Changing Identity

There is a swelling movement in the identity verification space that aims to entirely redefine identity as we know it; indeed, they’re one to watch for the future. Self-Sovereign Identity, or SSI, reclaims your digital identity – currently ‘owned’ by Facebook, Google, etc – and thus giving you more power over your personal data. In a world concerned by privacy breaches, a lack of trust in digital providers, and moral and physical freedoms, this could be the true future of the complex world of identity.

This article shows you just how complex and mystifying are all the processes that help verify your identity when you use online services.


Nick is a Software Engineer. He has interest in gadgets and technical stuffs. If you are facing any problem with your Windows, feel free to ask him.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.