Identity verification company, Youverify, has launched YouID, a new app that lets people store their personal identification documents securely and access them from anywhere. The app was launched at the Vibranium Valley in Lagos State.
Identity theft and scams involving it have been on the rise especially since more people started using the internet for financial transactions and other important activities. To forestall it, unique identifiers like the National Identification Number as well as the Bank Verification Number are now required before people can initiate certain transactions in the country.
However, cases where people lose track of their documents or simply cannot access them when they require them, have created a need to have the documents accessible digitally.Famous Ehichioya, Gbenga Odegbami (Ist two from the left)
While documents can be stored in Google Drive and other free cloud storage services, YouID takes it a step further by bringing merchants onboard the platform. The users who have uploaded identification documents can patronize the merchants who are onboarded on the app without having to verify their identity time and again.
The CEO of Youverify, Gbenga Odegbami, said: “The aim of YouID is to ensure that no one has to upload the same documents twice.”
There is an increasing amount of effort in Africa to ensure that citizens are able to easily verify themselves online. Two weeks ago, Smile Identity raised a $7 million round to scale its product that helps Africans prove their identity online.
How YouID works
Starting from Nigeria, YouID will also work its way to other African countries to ensure that merchants can reach out to customers without any fear of receiving falsified identity documents.
Youverify app uses computer vision as well artificial intelligence to remotely ascertain if the user is who he/she says they are. Anyone who signs up has to take a selfie and upload to the app. Afterwards, the identity documents like NIN slip, International passport, driver’s license and others will also be uploaded. The app uses a proprietary algorithm to analyse the selfie as well as the image that is captured in the documents that the user uploads.
Once the images are deemed to belong to the same person, YouID provides a credence score to the user on the dashboard which then allows the user to patronize sellers on the platform.
Talking about the features on the app, Odegbami, said, “The platform is intelligent enough to help the user know if he or she has been hacked using any of their passwords.”
YouSecure is one of the features of the app. It works like any of the regular authenticating apps and lets the user store passwords for different sites as well as generate tokens for signing in.
In the case where another device has signed in to any of the platforms that the user has connected to YouID without a token, it informs the user that he/she has been hacked. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are constant targets of hackers and an added layer of security can be given to them by connecting them to YouID for authenticating.
‘We don’t sell your data’ – YouID
The app is many things rolled into one. It is a digital wallet for storing and accessing important documents; a marketplace for merchants; a multi-factor authenticator; a Know Your Customer (KYC) platform; an Address tracker; and a Data Breach Notification app.
Youverify’s Product Manager, Michael Oragwa explained, “despite the many use cases of YouID, what we are launching is just one product. It is a secure digital wallet that lets you store your personal essential data in a way that is not accessible to anyone else.
“Think of it as a total replacement for your physical IDs”, he said. It is an online pen for filling digital forms.”
When a user uploads details and documents, they are stored on the person’s phone and can be backed up into the Google drive of the account that is provided. Each person decides who they want to share their details with. This control removes any responsibility from YouID or Youverify in the case that the data is mishandled.
Odegbami told our reporter, “The user has absolute control over their data, all we are doing is providing a secure way to make that data available when it is needed.”
Dispelling concerns that YouID will tow the path of other big tech companies like Facebook that sell their users data to third party companies, Youverify’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Famous Ehichioya said that is not the case. He said, “we don’t sell your data to merchants, you yourself decide to give your data to merchants that you want to access their service.”
The access that the user gives can be revoked if they feel the need to. They can also delete their data from YouID but that does not mean that the details will be automatically deleted from the database of merchants who already have it. Ehichioya explained that the user has to manually revoke access to the details from every merchant that has access before deleting the account from the app.