Authentication services for the general public - Electronic

Does anyone know of any services that could be used to authenticate a
user
that would be a member of the general public? One of the projects we’re
looking at here needs to have forms signed by parents of students. Since
we
simply can’t put every parent or guardian in our databse, we need a way
to
outsource the authentication.

I’m wondering if there are any services that could process an SSN, name,
and
birthday so that we could verify that the parent is actually ‘signing’
the
form.

Or might there be better solutions to accepting and validating an
electronic
signature?

James:

Employers, banks, credit bureaus, and credit card processors all have
access
to this information. The question is, what method do they use? Most
likely a
credit checking service. That’s why we were wondering if there was a
secure
authorization gateway that worked along the same lines.

This is for financial aid purposes and it’s not optional in many cases.
We
have discussed the idea of having parents create accounts at orientation
but
it could turn into a maintenence nightmare. With paper forms, it’s
pretty
easy to spot forgery. With electronic signatures, we need some method to
ensure that the person is who they say they are.

As for parents whould wouldn’t want to give out this information, I say
good
for them. They’ll just have to sign a paper copy.

I don’t think that many kids know their mother or father’s SSN. I know
a
lot of students who don’t even know their own when they come to college.
We
don’t use it at all any more (laws and all).

Again, I do like the idea of the parents creating accounts, but I don’t
think it’s an option… yet.

But that’s why I asked the question :slight_smile: Thanks!

Brian H. wrote:

Or might there be better solutions to accepting and validating an
electronic signature?

In general, it is impossible to verify identity over the internet. You
cannot ensure that “the person is who they say they are”. It doesn’t
matter whether they have “user accounts” or not.

ALL you can verify is that the person signing on knows a certain
password, or some other information you use to capture his identity –
SSN, pass phrase, whatever. It’s all the same in the end, absent some
kind of magic equipment (retinal scanner, on-line fingerprinting,
realtime DNA analyzer, … :slight_smile:

As for kids not knowing their parents’ SSNs – I think you’ll be amazed
how fast they find out if they have a good reason to do so.

–Al Evans

On 6/30/06, Brian H. [email protected] wrote:

I’m wondering if there are any services that could process an SSN, name, and
birthday so that we could verify that the parent is actually ‘signing’ the
form.

Aside from the fact that I hope the answer is “no” to there being a
database out there that you can simply access with this kind of data,
the kids will know this info about their parents. You still won’t be
able to trust that it’s the parents’ signatures.

Plus, some parents simply won’t give you this info anyway. I
certainly wouldn’t.

Is there a reason why the parents who are interested in using this
service can’t simply set up user accounts? Show up at the school with
an ID and set your username and password.

– James

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