Facebook just purchased a startup company, with technology that allows for quick verification that someone’s identification documentation is authentic.
Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that it has acquired the startup company, Confirm.io. The startup created an API that allows companies to quickly verify someone’s government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license, was authentic. The Boston-based startup will shut down as both its team and technology are rolled into Facebook.
A Confirm.io statement reads, “When we launched Confirm, our mission was to become the market’s trusted identity origination platform for which other multifactor verification services can build upon. Now, we’re ready to take the next step on our journey with Facebook.”
Facebook told TechCrunch, “We are excited to welcome the Confirm team to Facebook. Their technology and expertise will support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe.”
Your Facebook account could become a valid form of identification.
How could Facebook use this technology? It’s unclear at this time what Facebook plans to do with the technology. However, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Facebook may use the Confirm.io tech for certain things, such as:
- To verify the identity of users for account recovery, or
- To prevent users from creating fake accounts.
The Confirm.io technology allows a company to verify the authenticity of government-issued IDs. The company can combine data pulled from an ID card with biometric data pulled from a mobile device and facial recognition to verify the identity of a person.
Back in September, Facebook was testing a feature that let you unlock your account using a selfie. Since at least 2013, Facebook has let people mail in a copy of their photo ID or other identity verification materials in order to regain access to their account. Facebook has also required such ID to be mailed in for accounts “reported” as fake.
Used with a phone’s fingerprint and/or facial recognition systems, the verification technology could eventually make your Facebook profile a valid form of identification.
Because this is a full acquisition, Facebook becomes the sole owner of the verification and authentication technology. The Confirm team and tech could help Facebook strengthen and streamline these options.
One day, Facebook could serve as your ID card in some situations. Face ID on the iPhone X could eventually be opened to third parties to power more biometric security across apps. With our keys and payment cards becoming digitized and part of our phone, the physical ID card and cash (who uses that anymore?) are the last real reasons you have to carry an old-school wallet.
Unless you are like me, a person who doesn’t like to put all his eggs in one basket. Tech giants like Facebook and Google have been both criticized and feared by some, due to the vast amount of personal data they control. Are we entering a brave new techo-centric world or headed for a future dystopian tech-tatorship?