Note: This section has been adapted from NIST Special Publication 800-63-3 and combined with additional research. IAL2 is the level of NIST certification that is generally appropriate for unemployment insurance agencies.
“Identity proofing” is the official term for what is colloquially referred to as identity verification; identity verification is technically just a step within a larger identity proofing process. Both are umbrella terms that encompass a range of techniques to collect and resolve data to a particular person, validate that the provided data is legitimate and accurate for that person, and/or verify that the data is truly the user. At all stages, identity proofing checks the consistency of the data as it relates to a unique person, with varying levels of certainty.
Identity proofing in its most technical sense is defined by NIST, which additionally provides an Identity Assurance Level framework and certification. The IAL requirements indicate a particular level of certainty about an identity’s validity; the techniques typically associated with each stage of identity proofing are:
Identity resolution: comparing personally identifiable information (PII) provided by the user to public databases.
Identity validation: confirming that the claimant is the same person as the owner of the user account.
Identify verification: establishing a physical connection between the applicant and the PII or evidence provided.