In conversation with Blair Cohen, Chief Evangelist & President, AuthenticID
This time around we are in conversation with Blair Cohen, Chief Evangelist & President of AuthenticID. AuthenticID fuses state-of-the-art identity authentication with real-time identity analytics to allow you to segment your customers by opportunity value. They do this with frictionless consumer friendly mobile technology in a lightning-fast 20 seconds.
What brought you to the Identity Proofing Industry?
I am a serial entrepreneur, I’ve been creating companies since I was 7 and never stopped. My last business, InfoMart is one of the largest background screening companies in the world. Part of doing a background check is verifying identity however the tools used to perform that service really don’t work well, even in countries where robust data on consumers is widely available. The problem is everyone uses data, generally self provided data to prove identity and that data is no longer a secret that only its owner knows. Unfortunately most people have had data about them compromised through one of the well publicized beaches that have occurred, we all hear about Target, Yahoo and Anthem but the reality is there were over 900 data breaches in 2016 alone. If I know your name, address, date of birth and social, I am you in todays proofing schemes, I think this illustrates why using only data to prove identity no longer works!
At AuthenticID, we use elements that are more difficult for a bad actor to acquire, Something You Have, in our case a government issued ID and then we use Something You Are from a biometric standpoint, in our case a face, initially.
What made you see the potential in the industry?
This was an obvious one, after seeing 50 different names associated with a single social security number, not once but tens of thousands of times, it was clear that using asserted data to prove identity had serious flaws. I also have a background in security, virtually all security systems, physical, network, remote access rely on trusted identities that only become trusted after some proofing event which it todays world means an untrained low paid worked looks at an ID and records the name, sometimes they may look to verify the person in front of them resembles the person depicted on the ID, but not often.
This actually puts our country at serious risks, think about it, on 911 18 of the 19 hijackers boarded planes with counterfeit ID’s. Counterfeit ID’s break every system in existence: e.g. to get a license to sell securities you must have a federal background check performed which is done using fingerprints…sounds impossible to beat, right? Not at all, let’s say you have an extensive criminal record, but you want the job, easy, simply hire a proxy, without a criminal record, make them an ID that says they are you and the system is defeated, a license will be issued in the imposters name. That’s scary too me.
How were the early years at AuthenticID?
We are changing paradigms that have existed for 100 or more years and we’ve chosen to do that with the largest enterprises on earth, so “slow” is a good word to describe the early years at AuthenticID. That is quickly changing, logically, everyone seems to understand that using something you have and something you are makes a lot more sense than using something you know so we have gained traction with enterprises across the globe, quite quickly in 2017.
I understand you franchised the InfoMart concept to multiple companies, giving them the early start in the industry. What are some of today’s big names which had a start thanks to InfoMart?
This is not the first time that I’ve changed paradigms, at InfoMart we were way ahead of the curve, in the late 80’s nobody really did background checks, they relied on “intuition” to make the proper hire so I spent the first few years there evangelizing about the merits and importance of performing background checks on everyone you hired. It took a while to convince people but today, virtually every company performs background checks on the people they hire.
We were nearly the first company to make background checks fast, comprehensive in inexpensive so that model took off quickly, we sold franchises in 43 major US markets in the span of a couple of years. Many of the people in the industry today got there start by buying an InfoMart franchise.
What is on the near future for AuthenticID and its industry leading founder Blair Cohen?
The current vision is far from complete, to borrow a line from Dave Burch, Identity is the New Currency and we have a long way to go before trust is established in an efficient and privacy controlled manner. I can’t reveal our strategy just yet but we are using cutting edge technologies like advanced cryptography, biometrics and Blockchain along with our Identity Decision Module that can assimilate hundreds of data points into a decision in that will provide never before realized insight, not only into a persons real identity, we can actually predict that persons lifetime value to you as a business in less than 20 seconds, stay tuned.
Serial technology entrepreneur Blair Cohen’s most recent endeavor, authenticID, seeks to change the identity proofing process as the world knows it. However, the new Identity Risk Management company is not his first groundbreaking enterprise. In 1989, Cohen founded InfoMart and transformed the background screening industry. InfoMart revolutionized this sector by producing the highest quality and fastest automated background reports at a lower cost – the company is still a recognized industry leader. In 1999, he founded the Association of Consumer Reporting Agencies that pre-empted government regulation and served as a catalyst – driving the background screening industry toward self-regulation.
Since 2011, Cohen has focused on developing a vastly better method to authenticate identity than what presently exists. This led to the formation of authenticID in early 2012. Today, authenticID’s novel identity proofing products – catfishID and pictureID – are unparalleled in their innovation and effectiveness. Setting the new industry standard of excellence, catfishID forensically examines all government issued IDs and automatically determines the authenticity of the ID presented in under an astounding 9 seconds. catfishID’s accuracy is unmatched and the solution works with both driver’s licenses and passports – worldwide.
Under Cohen’s visionary leadership authenticID’s latest innovative solution, pictureID, is a paradigm shift in identity proofing. Unlike any other solution available, it provides 100% absolute accuracy versus a probability score – a claim no other company can make. pictureID is able to provide an actual photo revealing the true identity of the ID’s owner, thus adding an invaluable extra layer of security for any corporation.
As Cohen continues to develop his pipeline of pioneering technology products, he anticipates the industry’s needs by building systems which increase productivity and efficiency while greatly reducing costs and saving time.
Blair Cohen will be a panelist in the session Next Generation of Customer Authentication at BAI Beacon Atlanta 2017 on October 4th at the Georgia World Congress Center. Take a look at the Agenda and find which other panels and keynotes are of your interest!