I first met Charles Nouÿrit at Le Web in 2007. Surrounded by ‘boothe babes’ in tight white T-shirts, he was handing out cards about something called Myid.is. Was this the standard French startup pitch at Le Web? It probably was back in 2007. And it was a little hard to take the pitch, such as it was, seriously. But Identity? “ID”? Yes, it was a hot topic even then – and still is. Since then 600 million users have signed up to Facebook, close to 100 million on LinkedIn. Sure, many of those won’t be fully kosher online identities. But isn’t the issue of a verified online identity slowly being solved? The answer of course is no. Real identity, and more importantly the verification of someone’s ID by a trusted third party is nowhere near being solved online, outside of the banking system. But this is going to be a key battleground online going forward, especially where ecommerce and the ability to ‘sign’ for things enters a new phase. And – since 2007 – Charles has stuck to his guns on his startup and aimed high.And today Myid.is is emerging as a potentially powerful play.
A giant trial with the French Post office (La Poste) with a service branded as “Identic” will soon launch, claiming to be a world first in the Identity space. Identic is a brand owned by La Poste but run behind the scenes by MyID.is and allows digital identity to be verified by the La Poste organisation.
The trial will last for 6 months, and will allow the 1.2 million citizens of the Essonne region in France to register on Identic in order to certify their Digital Identity. Al going well, Identic will roll out nationaly and MyID.is will have bagged its first nationwide client for its ID verification platform.
What does this mean? Well, for starters, an Identic Digital Identity, powered by MyID.is, will let its holder display the fact that his or her real identity has been verified by La Poste. Ant they will be able to do so on third party site which accepts the Identic standard.
So, here’s a possible future example: Without me needing to get a “verified by Twitter” badge on my account, Twitter could simply pull the data from Identic where I’d already had my identify verified by a trusted third party partner. As you can imagine there are all sorts of future applications.
One might be to strengthen confidence linked to any social profile or to authenticate access to a site using their Identic/MyID.is username and password.
Furthermore, there is a useful role for Identic: that is, separating my personal social content (Twitter status updates etc) from my verified identify. That means it can be a lot more portable – say, for job applications.
Of course, it’s going to be hard to scale. The actual verification has to happen face to face between a postman and the person. That means this is either going to be the stuff of state governments or similarly large enterprises. Possibly slow moving stuff. But still pretty big.
In the above trial, the certification process is divided into three stages:
You buy your Identity on Identic for €6 and get immediately refunded with a random amount between 1 cents and €1.
This refund is a random amount verification code linked to a validated bank account.
Finally, the user receives a registered letter containing an activation code, delivered face-to-face / in person by a postman.
MyID.is won the contract with Las poste in June 2009, but it’s taken this long to get the first trial running. MyID.is Certified and the laboratory CEREGE won the Identic’s project, put out to tender by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (DGCIS) via the Secretariat to Innovation and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.
MyID.is hopes to rollout out their version of ID to many sites. The first in France will be Trèfle, classifieds ads website, (www.trefle.com) which is the first partner to join the trial. And as you can imagine the security on the MyID.is platform is military grade.
It’s a long way from Lew Web in 2007, but it looks like MyID.is is on its way to proving itself. Perhaps Charles will be able to grab bigger presence at Le Web next year.