The documentary film “Catfish” has an important message. A lady creates dozens of fake facebook profiles, makes a complicated network of friends, and ultimately ends up in trouble. It makes plain the fact that there is no easy way to verify the identity of someone on facebook or similar social network.. other than visiting the person in the real world and verifying the facts – which happens finally in the movie. There seems to be the need for an easy and open verification system for online identities. So, how about creating a “Web of Trust” network, where you verify your identity, and then link your online ids/profiles? Here’s the plan –
- Initially, the network would consisting of few individuals who know each other in the real world – say 5-10 people.
- The database will have the Name, Date and Place of birth, a dated photo, and also mention a matching real world ID, like passport or driving license – just mentioned as verified, not actually stored as a copy or anything.
- Anybody else who wishes to verify their identity with the network will have to enter their details and then meet one of the network members in person or over webcam (by fixing up an appointment..) and then show their ID clearly with the name, photo, place and date of birth.
- Once verified, they can verify others. One person will need to be verified by at least two members.
- Finally, a verified person can log in to the website and “claim” multiple personal online ids – emails, facebook, twitter, google, etc. Then, it may be mentioned on the corresponding social profile as “ID verified by the Web of Trust” – or something similar
- Maybe, there can even be an API / plugin system by which it can be integrated into the profiles on various sites.
And of course, it should be a free, open service, maintained by the community of users. Sounds like a good idea?