From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Blake Hall
  • Matt Thompson
  • Tanel Suurhans
TypePrivate company
PurposeIdentity verification
Between 1,000 and 5,000
Website is an American online identity network company that allows people to provide proof of their legal identity online. digital credentials can be used to access government services, healthcare logins, or discounts from retailers. The company is based in McLean, Virginia.[1]

In the wake of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, was contracted by numerous state unemployment agencies to verify the identities of claimants. The US Internal Revenue Service also uses as its only online option in accessing its online taxpayer tools.[2]


Origins as TroopSwap and Troop ID[edit] was founded in early 2010 by Blake Hall and Matt Thompson as TroopSwap, a daily deal website similar to Groupon and LivingSocial with a focus on the American military community.[3][1] The company evolved into Troop ID, which provided digital identity verification for military personnel and veterans.[1] Troop ID allowed service members and veterans to access online benefits from retailers, such as military discounts, as well as government agencies like the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.[4]

Rebrand to[edit]

In 2013, the company rebranded again as with the goal of providing a ubiquitous secure identity verification network.[3] To that end, they expanded to include verification of credentials for first responders, nurses, and students for discounts. In 2013, was awarded a two-year grant by the United States Chamber of Commerce to participate in the President's National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), a pilot project intended to help develop secure digital identification methods.[5]

In late 2014, won a contract with the General Services Administration to provide digital identity credentials with Co-founder Matt Thompson left the company in 2015. In March 2017, received $19 million in its Series B funding round. In 2018, became the first digital identity provider to be certified by the Kantara Initiative at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) IAL2 level.[6]

In 2019, signed a contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer “virtual in-person identity proofing”, allowing veterans to verify their identity with the VA via video call.[7] also signed a contract with the Social Security Administration for single sign-on, identity management, and multifactor authentication in 2020.[8] also began work with the state of California in 2019 to provide REAL ID document pre-screening for DMVs. Listed partners for discounts on’s website also include Under Armour, Apple, and Lenovo.[9]

State Unemployment[edit]

In the wake of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, at least 27 states contracted with to verify the identities of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants, as required by federal law and the U.S. Department of Labor. [10][11]

In late 2020, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) notified 1.4 million accounts that the EDD suspected were fraudulent that their benefits would be suspended in 30 days unless they were verified by[12] News coverage at that time focused on legitimately unemployed individuals who complained that it took as long as 2–3 days to speak with a referee and/or that the EDD did not resume benefits even after they completed the verification process.[13][14][15]

Federal Government[edit]

In November 2021, the Internal Revenue Service announced plans to replace their current log-in systems with a third-party verification system, along with replacing their old log-in system with by Summer 2022.[16] However, researchers raised concerns about lack of evidence of accuracy, false negatives which prevent dark-skinned or transgender people from accessing their own information, false positives which let third parties impersonate a taxpayer to access tax information, and citizens' right to refuse to give their biometric information to the government and its contractors.[17] On January 28, 2022, the United States Department of the Treasury, the parent agency of the IRS, announced that it may consider alternatives due to privacy concerns.[18] The IRS has not abandoned plans to use, but has instead made changes to how users are verified.[19] On February 21, 2022, the IRS announced that a new option in the agency’s authentication system, referring to, was available for taxpayers to sign up for IRS online accounts without the use of any biometric data, including facial recognition. This is consistent with the IRS’s commitment earlier to transition away from the requirement for taxpayers creating an IRS online account to provide a selfie to a third-party service to help authenticate their identity. Taxpayers will have the option of verifying their identity during a live, virtual interview with agents; no biometric data – including facial recognition – will be required if taxpayers choose to authenticate their identity through a virtual interview. Taxpayers will still have the option to verify their identity automatically through the use of biometric verification through’s self-assistance tool if they choose. For taxpayers who select this option, new requirements are in place to ensure images provided by taxpayers are deleted for the account being created. Any existing biometric data from taxpayers who previously created an IRS Online Account that has already been collected will also be permanently deleted within a few weeks. It was stated that while this short-term solution is in place for this year’s filing season, the IRS will work closely with partners across government to roll out Login.Gov as an authentication tool. The General Services Administration was said to be working with the IRS to achieve the security standards and scale required of Login.Gov, with the goal of moving toward introducing this option after the 2022 filing deadline.[20]

Services[edit] offers numerous identity verification products,[9] supplied by third parties. For "high-assurance" identity verification, the company verifies personal data, including drivers' licenses, passports, and social security numbers.[21] Users must also take a video selfie with their phones, using the photo app.[1] If fails to verify users through this information, users are directed to talk to a "Trusted Referee" video call.[22] users have expressed frustration due to long delays on its video call line.

As part of its identification system, the company collects a wide range of personal information, including photographs and identification documents.[23] The company verifies information by sending it to a number of "government agencies, telecommunications networks, financial institutions" and other companies which the company trusts and considers reliable. The company treats Internet Protocol addresses and unique device identifiers as non-personally identifiable, and releases them to third parties, along with location, occupation, language, the list of pages browsed at, and the URLs visited before and after using[23] is one of three companies, along with USAA and Zentry, certified to Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) Level of Assurance 3.[24]'s privacy policy states that users must consent before any information is shared with third-party sources. However, its policy also states that "by utilizing your Account at Third-Party Websites, you are expressly authorizing [] to share certain Personally Identifiable Information or Sensitive Information tied to your Account with such Third-Party Websites."[25] said in a press release that their products use one-to-one facial recognition technology that matches a photo taken from an individual to a Government ID.[26] Co-founder and CEO Blake Hall also confirmed the one-time use of one-to-many facial recognition, which matches an image against a database of other faces, to identify people who are known for committing fraud. This information has sparked concerns from privacy activists and organizations. It also led to concerns about people with limited access to technology that they are required to use a third-party company to access the services that they can use.[27] In an interview with Axios, Hall has defended its practices, citing that the company is working to make its service both equitable and available.[28][29]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Overly, Steven (July 14, 2013). "Tysons Corner-based expands online identification network". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  2. ^ "New identity verification process to access certain IRS online tools and services". Internal Revenue Service. November 17, 2021. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Gregg, Aaron (March 8, 2017). "This D.C. start-up is taking on some giant tech companies in the race to simplify sign-ons". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Feinstein, Gregory (March 17, 2013). "Military Verification Service, Troop ID, Raises 2.1 Million". TechCrunch.
  5. ^ "NSTIC,, Inc". National Institute of Standards and Technology. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  6. ^ " Becomes First Identity Provider to Be Approved as NIST 800-63-3 Conformant" (Press release). Kantara Initiative. August 16, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  7. ^ Medici, Andy. "Identity startup sees explosive growth, plans to hire 1,000 workers". Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  8. ^ "SSA inks 5-year contract for SSO Solution Annual Software Licenses and Support task". G2Xchange FedCiv. June 8, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Ecommerce: Verify Eligibility for Exclusive Discounts". Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  10. ^ Dave, Paresh (July 22, 2021). "Factbox: States using, rival identity check tools for jobless claims". Reuters. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  11. ^ "UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM LETTER No. 28-20". U.S. Department of Labor. August 31, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  12. ^ Said, Carolyn (January 16, 2021). "California EDD's mass suspension of accounts hangs over jobless". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications.
  13. ^ Watts, Julie (December 28, 2020). "CBS13 Investigates EDD Backlog – Getting Answers From". KOVR.
  14. ^ Finney, Michael; Koury, Renee (January 13, 2021). "EDD demands 1.4 million jobless prove their identity or lose benefits; ID verification isn't easy". KGO-TV.
  15. ^ Finney, Michael; Koury, Renee (January 21, 2021). "Massive EDD delays threaten unemployment pay for thousands in California". KGO-TV.
  16. ^ "IRS unveils new online identity verification process for accessing self-help tools" (Press release). Internal Revnue Service. November 17, 2021.
  17. ^ Buolamwini, Joy (January 27, 2022). "The IRS Should Stop Using Facial Recognition". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  18. ^ Lawder, David (January 28, 2022). "U.S. Treasury weighs alternatives to after privacy concerns raised". Reuters. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  19. ^ Rappeport, Alan (February 7, 2022). "I.R.S. to End Use of Facial Recognition for Identity Verification". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2022.
  20. ^ "IRS Statement — New features put in place for IRS Online Account registration; process strengthened to ensure privacy and security | Internal Revenue Service". February 21, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2022. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  21. ^ "How do I verify my identity?". Support. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  22. ^ " Support". Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  23. ^ a b "Privacy Policy version 6.0.0". December 31, 2019. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  24. ^ "Trust Services". ID Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  25. ^ "Privacy Policy". Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  26. ^ " Comments on Adherence to Federal Rules on Facial Recognition "Selfies" that Protect Identities from Theft" (Press release). January 24, 2022.
  27. ^ Lyons, Kim (January 20, 2022). "The IRS will soon make you use facial recognition to access your taxes online". The Verge. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  28. ^ Fried, Ina (January 24, 2022). "IRS face recognition program raises hackles". Axios.
  29. ^ Riley, Tonya (January 26, 2022). " CEO backtracks on claims company doesn't use powerful facial recognition tech". Cyber Scoop. Scoop News Group.

External links[edit]