Verizon Becomes First Firm to Offer Certified Online ID Protection

December 5, 2011

Verizon has become the first company certified to offer high-level online identity protection for federal personnel and visitors to dot-gov websites, officials at the telecommunications firm announced Monday morning.

With agencies under budgetary pressure to move services online and data breaches spiking, ID providers are vying to offer departments, as well as businesses, easy, affordable means of ensuring people are who they say they are online. Verizon officials said the win opens the door for potential contracts with the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies that require a high level of ID trustworthiness for transactions, such as filing taxes directly through IRS.gov.

Until now, companies, including Google and Equifax, met the federal government's criteria for offering websites only the lowest of four "levels of assurance" -- Level 1, which simply confirms a username and password. Level 3 assurance, which Verizon now carries, requires checking a second piece of identifying data, such as a smart card containing personal information and biometric fingerprints. 

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