Facebook buys ID verification startup Confirm.io

Facebook has acquired a startup that offers a system for verifying the authenticity of ID cards, biometrics and facial recognition.

The Boston-based firm Confirm.io, confirmed on its website that an agreement with Facebook has been made. It will now be rolled into Mark Zuckerberg’s company, where it will presumably work on verification for the Facebook platform – perhaps with transactions made on the social network, or helping users that are locked out of their accounts.

“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,” the company says. “Now, we’re ready to take the next step on our journey with Facebook.”

Confirm.io adds that its current authentication offerings will be “wound down” as it shifts focus to Facebook.

One of the startups main pieces of software verifies government-issued ID cards using a phone’s camera. As TechCrunch notes, delivery service DoorDash used this system to confirm the identity of its drivers, while Notarize used it to verify its customers’ legal documents for filing. The startup also worked on pulling information from mobile biometrics and facial recognition to verify a person’s identity.

Facebook says Confirm.io’s technology will “support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe,” suggesting the short-term use of the startup’s API will be for security purposes. It could expedite the process, for example, for users to regain access to their accounts if they have been hacked.

In the long term, digital authentication could widen Facebook’s scope to act as a virtual ID card. Companies like Veridium ID and Trusona are already looking at the role of government-issued ID in a world of biometrics and mass identity theft, so Facebook may be looking how it can fill the role of your driving license or passport.

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