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Further expanding the Identity Verified badge

Employee
Jeff C Employee Member Since: May 1, 2015
1 of 12

Hi everyone:

 

I'm Jeff Chen, the head of Trust & Safety at Upwork. My job – for the 6+ years I’ve been working here – has been to help ensure that Upwork is a safe place for freelancers and clients to get work done together.

 

We recently launched the Identity Verified badge this January, which enables freelancers to show on their profiles that they’ve verified their identity. This is available to all Top Rated freelancers. Freelancers become Identity Verified after successfully completing both a secure government ID scan and a live video verification chat.

 

ID verified badge hover.png

We’ve heard from those who are not yet eligible to become Identity Verified that you’d like to have the option to verify your identity for the badge. We’ve also heard concerns from some of you that a slow rollout can give those who are Identity Verified an unfair advantage since they may be able to more effectively market their services to potential clients. To address these concerns, my team will be expanding this badge to non-Top Rated freelancers on Upwork, and we’ll do this as quickly as our resources allow.

 

As a reminder, we extend invitations to batches of freelancers almost daily. We cannot badge all freelancers at once, as we do not have the capacity to verify all freelancers at once. That’s why we started with Top Rated freelancers.

 

When you’re eligible for an Identity Verified badge, you’ll be notified when you log onto Upwork. Note that those who are new to the Top Rated program will be invited to verify their identities for the badge around a week after joining, not instantly.

 

We are committed to constantly providing services to improve the success of freelancers on Upwork. As always, please continue sharing your feedback with us and let us know if you ever have any questions.

Community Guru
Jess C Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
2 of 12

It has been asked multiple times in the original announcement of this new "feature," but never answered: what, exactly, is Upwork is "checking" when we upload an image of our government-issued identification?

 

Does Upwork have access to government databases to "check" IDs against?

 

What does Upwork do to maintain the security of our personal information? What happens to the image files we upload?

 

The courtesy of a prompt and informative reply would be appreciated.

Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
3 of 12

Hi Jess,

 

Sorry about the delayed response. Our goal here is to ensure the Upwork account owner is a real person. To do so, we partner with a third party vendor that authenticates the government issued identity documents.  

 

We take the security of personal information very seriously. At times there is a need for additional levels of verification. To support this, our current practice is to store full IDs for a maximum of 5 years. By the end of April, we plan to move to storing encrypted images of full IDs for 30 days only. ID headshot pictures will continue to be securely stored for up to 5 years. This enables additional video verification, as needed, to confirm that the person owning the account is the person using it. Please note that data may be stored longer in cases of suspension.

 

These images are used solely to ensure the security and authenticity of Upwork accounts. Your ID will never be shared with clients, and our third party vendor is contractually obligated not to store any data related to user IDs more than 10 days.

~ Valeria
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Community Guru
Jess C Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
4 of 12

Valeria K. wrote:

Hi Jess,

 

Sorry about the delayed response. Our goal here is to ensure the Upwork account owner is a real person. To do so, we partner with a third party vendor that authenticates the government issued identity documents.  

 

We take the security of personal information very seriously. At times there is a need for additional levels of verification. To support this, our current practice is to store full IDs for a maximum of 5 years. By the end of April, we plan to move to storing encrypted images of full IDs for 30 days only. ID headshot pictures will continue to be securely stored for up to 5 years. This enables additional video verification, as needed, to confirm that the person owning the account is the person using it. Please note that data may be stored longer in cases of suspension.

 

These images are used solely to ensure the security and authenticity of Upwork accounts. Your ID will never be shared with clients, and our third party vendor is contractually obligated not to store any data related to user IDs more than 10 days.


Thank you for a comprehensive response, finally.

 

Will we be notified when the change in storage times goes into effect? Because I see absolutely no sane reason you'd need to store ID images longer than it takes to "verify" them. The bouncer at the door of the bar doesn't need to keep a copy once they've verified someone is over 21, for example...

 

I still can't help feeling that this is just more meaningless security theatre.

Employee
Jeff C Employee Member Since: May 1, 2015
5 of 12

Hi Jess,

 

This previous forum post will give you an idea why we keep the headshot after the initial verification. Unlike in a bar, when people verify on Upwork, there is a chance they could sell their account and that undermines all the legitimate freelancers who put in hard and honest work to build a solid portfolio and reputation on Upwork. And it's also a bad experience for a client who thinks they are working with someone and finding out it's someone else.

Community Guru
Valentina D Member Since: Aug 27, 2016
6 of 12

Hi there, it looks like something isn't working as planned. I've been through the whole process and got my badge a few weeks ago. Yesterday I received the congrats email again (oh-oh) and today I can see that my badge is missing. Asked CS about it, and the rep said the issue was complex.

Apparently, the identity verification page in my settings has been reset. It looks like a glitch to me, and I'm not sure what to do next.

I'd really appreciate your help. Thanks

Moderator
Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
7 of 12

Hi Valentina,

 

I`m sorry about the inconvenience this had caused you.
I will escalate your ticket to the appropriate team to investigate it further and one of our team members will assist you further as soon as possible. Thank you.


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Community Guru
Valentina D Member Since: Aug 27, 2016
8 of 12

Thanks, Goran.

I am still waiting for an update on my ticket (or any meaningful information, like "something's caused a mess with the ID badge feature, and we are working on it...")

Thanks

Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
9 of 12

Valentina, maybe it was simply an April Fool's joke. Hopefully all is working correctly for you now. 

Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
10 of 12

Hi Valentina,

 

Noting on this thread the info we shared on the other threads you posted about the issue you've experienced with the ID badge. We are happy to confirm the issue has been resolved and you again have the ID badge on your profile. We apologize for the inconvenience its removal had caused you.

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