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Identiq Wants You to Make Sure Your Users’ Identities Check Out

Identiq enables some of the world’s largest B2Cs to work together to validate new users & vouch for ones they trust – without sharing any personal user data at all. It’s a new standard for end-user privacy, which reduces false positives, increases approval rates and creates a better user experience.

What problem are you trying to solve?

How do you know if a new user is who they claim to be?

Companies need to know which users and details are legitimate, compromised or fraudulent. This makes access to information beyond a company’s own data absolutely vital. Until now, companies have never been able to work together directly, in an automated fashion, due to privacy concerns and the need to protect competitive information or trade secrets.

Instead, they worked together indirectly, via middlemen – data brokers or data enrichment services – who aggregate (and resell) data and the knowledge it provides.

There are some very real limitations to the data aggregator model.

  1. Poor Data Freshness and Reliability. Data providers aren’t incentivised to keep their datasets clean and up to date. On the contrary: they want to boast as many data points as possible. Moreover, providers only see a small part of a user’s activity. Old or incomplete data is a risk; fraudsters move at the speed of bots and good users regularly update payment information, addresses, etc. Fraud teams need fresh information they can rely on.
  2. Looking for the Bad Instead of the Good. The traditional model focuses on catching fraudsters, rather than validating good identities. Since each query is expensive, fraud teams are unlikely to want to use these tools to facilitate frictionless experience for good customers. That makes sense, but results in business lost to false positives, delays and frustration – an amount that often adds up to more than is lost to fraud in the first place.
  3. Privacy and Data Exposed to a Third Party. In order to verify data, companies have to share it with their providers, resulting in data proliferation — and in third party data breaches like Equifax. But customers and regulators care about data privacy.

It would be better if companies could work together without the side effects, cutting out the middleman of a data provider (or several) and instead collaborating peer-to-peer. That’s what Identiq enables.

What are you trying to solve?

We realized that if companies could work together directly, and pool their trust in their good customers, it would be an incomparably better experience for everyone. Customers wouldn’t need to jump through hoops to prove that they can be trusted, and could get a great experience even their very first time on a site or app.

On the other hand, if no network member has ever seen that user before, that’s surprising, and the fraud team can add friction to check whether it really is someone new to the internet (a young person or elderly person coming online, maybe) or whether it’s all fake. Similarly if a known name, phone and email are suddenly being used with a credit card, device and IP they’ve never been seen with before, further investigation from the fraud team can flag synthetic identity or ATO.

How are you solving that problem?

Companies on Identiq’s network can query the other companies on the network whenever they see a new user, or new user details. Companies who recognize and trust the user respond, and then the company asking the question can trust that user, too.

The clever bit is, it’s anonymous – no one on the network knows what queries are being asked, which companies are asking, which companies are asking, or what the answers are to any other company’s queries. Companies can leverage one another’s data – without ever sharing it. Even Identiq never sees any personal user data from any of the companies on the network.

It sounds like magic, but it’s actually Privacy Enhancing Computation at work, a technological development so significant that Gartner chose it as a Top Strategic Trend for 2021.

How do you differ from the competition?

The magic came about when our founders realized that privacy could be used to empower collaboration, rather than restrict it – using mathematical and cryptographic concepts which had been established in academic circles for decades. A few years ago, technological advances meant that these principles could be applied to real world scenarios, too. Identiq is the first to use them for fraud prevention.

None of the competition offers anything like this. Combining data level collaboration with full anonymity is unique to Identiq, and enables companies to work together far more effectively.

Why this matters to companies: No company is willing to share precious user data with other companies. Only Identiq makes it possible for them to pool trust and draw on one another’s knowledge without ever sharing any personal user data whatsoever.

This has some interesting consequences. Firstly, it means competitors are willing – and even eager – to work together, fighting their common criminal enemies. Since fraudsters often specialize in specific industries, this is hugely valuable. Secondly, it means sensitive data points such as credit card ownership can be validated.

Thirdly, while Identiq’s network does naturally flag when fake, stolen or synthetic identity information is being used, the network also, uniquely, provides powerful positive validation. The network can identify real users, who have built up trust online over time, even if a particular member is seeing them for the first time. That’s only possible with anonymous peer-to-peer collaboration – and that’s unique to Identiq.

How is the market shifting and how do you think you will fit in there?

There’s a real shift in how privacy is perceived by consumers, by governments and by regulators. It’s a real awakening to the dilemma that we’ve ended up in thanks to the rampant proliferation of personal information, which is shared so frequently by data brokers. Consumer concern has driven significant regulatory change already, and it seems clear that there’s more coming. No business can safely ignore this trend.

As we see it, providerless technology – tech that takes the third-party providers out of the equation altogether – powered by Privacy Enhancing Computation, is the perfect answer. It’s not surprising that Gartner chose it as a top tech trend of 2021; it’s a technology which perfectly fits the needs created by the way the world is changing.

Identiq enables companies to carry out identity validation with providerless tech – it’s more effective, because it draws on reliably fresh data and on a user’s rich online life, and a whole new world for privacy, because companies can finally validate identities without sharing users’ precious personal data with third parties.

It’s a far better fit for consumers’ sensitivity towards privacy issues, and it’s a great way to future-proof against regulatory changes, as well. In a sense it helps companies adapt to where consumers are already at, when it comes to privacy.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We’d love to see all large B2C companies collaborating with one another, pooling trust in good users to improve user experience and fraud fighting for everyone, without sharing any personal user data. That’s what our network is for.

If you’re at a company like that, and you’d like to leverage the knowledge of other large companies like yours, then get in touch. Visit our website, and email us at [email protected].

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