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Identity verification and watermarking

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Active Member
Harshad R Member Since: Dec 12, 2015
1 of 5

Hi all,

 

I am new here and it's my first post! 

 

As some of you might know, Upwork requires identity verification in some cases (profile name doesn't match the name on bank account, etc). As part of the verification process, Upwork requires uploading scanned copies of identity documents, bank statements etc.

 

Now, I am fine with providing those images, and I am assured that utmost precaution is taken by Upwork in handling these images, but my worry is that the scanned copies might find their way out of Upwork. This can happen if:

  • Upwork gets hacked (despite their best measures)
  • Data gets leaked accidentally
  • Data is stolen by a rouge employee

To prevent others from using our identity documents, one solution would be if we (the freelancers) could apply a watermark to the image before upload. Let's assume the watermark is not obtrusive, so that it won't affect verification.

 

However, upwork explicitly forbids watermarking (or any other image manipulation). While I can understand why image manipulation needs to be forbidden in general, I think watermarking should be allowed by Upwork.

 

I tried raising this point with the support team, but I think they can't make policy decisions, hence posting here.

 

What does the community feel? Should we request Upwork to allow watermarking?

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 5

Watermarking isn't going to stop thieves. They sell the CC numbers and private data so then they can do things like file tax returns. The images don't matter that much. In the case of someone using the image, they will take the time to remove the watermark.

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Active Member
Harshad R Member Since: Dec 12, 2015
3 of 5

@Jennifer M wrote:

Watermarking isn't going to stop thieves. They sell the CC numbers and private data so then they can do things like file tax returns. The images don't matter that much. In the case of someone using the image, they will take the time to remove the watermark.


Indeed, watermarking is not a perfect solution (if ever there is one). And it definitely won't protect the data in the image.

 

The idea is to make it a bit tough for the thief to use the image itself.

 

Is there a downside to watermarking that I am not seeing?

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 5

Harshad R wrote

 

Is there a downside to watermarking that I am not seeing?


 Yes, they alter the image and make it harder to make sure it has not been tampered with.

 

NO organisation allows watermarked docs to be used for ID verification, for that very reason.

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Community Guru
Darrin O Member Since: Jan 20, 2015
5 of 5

@Jennifer M wrote:

Watermarking isn't going to stop thieves.


Sometimes it is sufficient to simply know/trace/audit the theft.  For example, I give every company I deal with (including Upwork) a unique email address.  So if I ever start getting spam sent to that address, odds are pretty good that they've experienced a security breach (or purposely sold me out).


In the case of someone using the image, they will take the time to remove the watermark.

Only if you make it obvious and/or easy to remove.  The more sophisticated the concealment techniques, the more likely it is to go unnoticed in the first place.  All security starts with obscurity.

 

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