“I forgot my identity card, now how can I get past security?” I’m sure we all have gone through a similar situation. I know I have. But now it turns out if you forget you’re ID there are other accepted means of proving your identity. In US traveling can become complicated because of its various security checks at airports and other places. If you forgot your ID and if your Social Media presence could be a substitute and proof of your identification it would be a major time saver and traveling would be much easier.
Zach Klein co-founder of Vimeo and CEO of DIY.org tweeted indicating his surprise that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in US had accepted his Facebook profile as Identity proof.
“Got to the airport, realized I left my ID at home.TSA allowed me to use my Facebook profile instead. Apparently this isn’t remarkable; the TSA has a policy of using any “Publicly available database” to verify identity.”
Until recently an account on a social network site such as Twitter or Facebook was not considered as a reliable form of identification in any country, including the US Government related agencies. But now the US and the UK are being more open to the online presence as proof concept.
TSA’s Ross Feinstein confirmed that they are open to accepting publicly available databases to confirm a passenger’s identity. He goes on to say “Not having an ID does not necessarily mean a passenger will not be allowed to fly. If passengers are willing to provide additional information, TSA has other means of substantiating an individual’s identity, like using publicly available databases”
Now, more and more online social networking sites are focusing on verifying the identity of their users by requesting them to provide their government ID numbers or some other form of authentication. So, if the networking site is making sure that its users are authentic and that they are who they say they are the other organizations could rely on the social networking profile to be accurate.
This tighter security was prominent in an incident where when certain Facebook users tried to log into their account they were asked to submit their government identification if they wanted to proceed into their accounts. A similar incident was reported on Instagram where identification was required to access a profile.
When Feinstein said that they use publicly available databases, how do we know what websites they consider authentic enough and what websites do not qualify. There is no clear list of sites that states that certain profiles can be used to provide identification but the fact that security points are open to using social media sites itself is a step up and makes the travelers life easier.
So next time you are caught without your Government ID at a security check point and you are required to prove your identity, it doesn’t hurt to ask if your social media profile would serve as sufficient identification because if you’re lucky it will and you would have saved all the time and trouble which would have otherwise taken for you to go back and retrieve your Identity card.