Who Can You Trust with Your ID Data?

The misuse of personal data is seen as a potential drag on the growth of the ID and secure document sector. But who do people feel they can trust more to protect their ID data – government or the private sector?

A new poll of 2,400 people who are likely to vote in four US states – Arizona, Ohio, Georgia and Michigan – shows that an overwhelming majority, around 70%, are very or somewhat concerned that their identities could be stolen online. In fact, about one in three polled said that they themselves, or someone they know, has already been a victim of identity theft.

The poll was commissioned by Socure, conducted by John Zogby Strategies from 29 April to 3 June 2022, and reported in the Route Fifty daily newsletter for state and local government 1.

The survey found that approximately three- quarters of participants across the four states expressed deep concern about the sale of personal information to third parties, about two-thirds are concerned about the risk of identity theft, and more than half are concerned about the accuracy and effectiveness of government digital identity verification programs.

Interestingly, voters in these states trust private industry more than government when it comes to identity verification. Approximately 50% of respondents think that eCommerce providers are capable of safely and accurately onboarding people into new programs and services. By contrast, only about 30% of those surveyed think that government is up to the challenge.

Of those who have tried to access state benefits programmes (eg. unemployment insurance) through existing systems:

  • Nearly 45% said that they experienced problems registering and having their identity verified.

  • Nearly 50% expressed concerns about being asked to capture their identification documents and selfie as part of the enrolment process.

  • Roughly 30% said that they abandoned the identity verification process before it was completed, expressing concerns about the security of the data and that the sign-up process was too difficult and time-consuming.

Respondents also reported that existing identity verification processes take too long, and some – 10% to 17% – reported that their identities were never verified, and they did not receive the benefits they were due. On average nearly 29% of those surveyed in all four states reported that the verification process took anywhere from three months to never.

Ultimately, the participants in these states are not convinced that current government programs are adequate. Roughly, only a third of people taking part in the poll believe that the states have made it ‘quick, easy, and accurate to verify identities online’. At least for now, most respondents do not believe that government is doing enough to verify digital identities and protect people’s most sensitive personal information.

Despite the high levels of distrust for government institutions, voters say they want a convenient, user-friendly system that takes moments, not days or weeks, to validate their identity and give them peace- of-mind, citing online shopping as a role model for effective onboarding.

The findings from the survey concluded that whilst there is frustration with the current system and the friction that people experience when trying to access public services, there is consensus amongst those surveyed that improvement is possible.

1 - https://www.route-fifty.com/tech-data/2022/09/states-have-work-do-making-identity-verification-user-friendly/376974/