The digital age has seen a significant shift towards online identity verification, with numerous companies stepping up to meet the demand. Among these is ShareID, a promising new startup from France. Described as an “Authentication-as-a-Service solution tied to government-issued IDs,” ShareID has a unique approach that sets it apart from its competitors: it does not store any personal data. The company achieves this by having users submit a video proving their “liveness” and an image of their government ID, which are processed to create a unique hash and then promptly erased from the servers.
Unlike ShareID, many other companies in the field retain personal data for extended periods of time. For instance, ID.me, a controversial U.S. firm, admits to potentially retaining biometric information for up to thirty-six months. This practice has drawn criticism from members of the U.S. Congress who argue that the company misrepresented its technology and exaggerated fraud estimates to boost demand for its services. Similarly, CLEAR, another biometric security company operating in the U.S., retains identification and biometric data for the duration of a user’s account.
ShareID’s unique modus operandi is aimed at minimizing data retention. The company’s CEO, Sara Sebti, explains that they issue reusable identities to users, getting rid of all captured personal data. This is achieved through the use of homomorphic hashing—an encryption technique that creates a unique value from a set of data without the possibility of reversing it to retrieve the original data.
In practice, ShareID’s customers can incorporate the company’s technology into their websites and mobile apps through an SDK and API. To authenticate, users must submit videos showing both sides of their ID document and their face while completing randomly-generated challenges. Once processed, this data is used to create a homomorphic hash for re-authenticating the user during subsequent visits. According to Sebti, ShareID’s security measures have been audited by France’s military police and undergo regular penetration tests and live security monitoring.