Florida has joined the growing list of states that have enabled biometric authentication to be used by online notaries conducting remote online notarizations. This has resulted in a more secure and efficient process that generates greater time and cost savings for Florida online notaries and their consumers. Read on to find out how!

The Role of a Notary in Florida

Florida law considers many documents to be so important that they must be signed before a notary public. A notary public’s function is to authenticate signatures and administer oaths on those documents to prevent fraud. The notary public is responsible for verifying the identity of the person signing to prevent someone from fraudulently using another’s name. In Florida a notary public is authorized to execute six duties; administer oaths and affirmations, take acknowledgments, attest to photocopies of certain documents, solemnize marriage, verify vehicle identification numbers and certify the contents of a safe-deposit box. Current Florida law allows a notary public to perform all of those notarial acts, except solemnizing marriage, using electronic means which is commonly referred to as Remote Online Notarization or “RON.”

Introduction to Remote Online Notarization (RON)

Remote online notarization (RON) is a process that allows a notary public to notarize documents without being physically present with the signer. Instead, the notary and the signer communicate through audio and video conferencing technology over the internet. A Florida online notary public may perform an online notarization, regardless of the physical location of the signer at the time of the notarial act, as long as the Florida online notary public is physically located in Florida while performing the online notarization.

Read more: Traditional Notarization Vs. Remote Online Notarization (RON)

Identity Verification Evolution

Here at eNotaryLog, a typical remote online notarization used to work by having the signer or signers indicate who they are and provide an email address to send a verification link and ultimately their notarized documents. Next an equipment check is conducted to make sure the signer’s audio and video are ready for the online notarization. Then the signer uploads the documents to be notarized to the platform and the signer continues to the identity verification process. Traditionally the identity verification process was comprised of two steps; credential analysis and knowledge-based authentication questions or “KBA.” Credential analysis takes the image of the front and back of a government issued ID, and through machine learning algorithms, verifies the ID as either real or fake.

Knowledge-Based Authentication – KBA

KBA on the other hand, generates a series of questions based on the public information available about the signer of which the signer must get 80% correct within 2 minutes to pass. Once the signer has passed the identity verification process, they enter a live call with a notary in which the audio and video is recorded. The signer’s documents are then electronically signed, and the online notary applies their electronic signature and seal indicating that the documents have been notarized. After the live call the signers receive their digitally notarized documents. The entire process typically taking between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the length and number of documents to be notarized.

It’s important to note that the availability and legality of remote online notarization varies by jurisdiction. Not all states or countries permit remote online notarization, and those that do may have other specific requirements or regulations in place. If you’re considering using remote online notarization, it’s advisable to check with your Secretary of State office or consult legal counsel to ensure compliance with current laws and regulations.

Read more: Why is KBA Verification Secure?

Biometric Authentication Unveiled

Biometric authentication is a security process that uses unique physical or behavioral characteristics to verify a person’s identity. Relying upon the fact that every individual has distinct biological traits that can be used for identification which are difficult to forge or replicate. There are several types of biometric characteristics commonly used for authentication including:

  • Behavioral biometrics which track the way we conduct tasks such as entering a captcha to prove we are not a robot, or mouse movement and even the way we walk.
  • Fingerprint recognition that analyzes the unique patterns of ridges and valleys of a person’s fingertip.
  • Voice recognition which analyzes the unique characteristics of a person’s speech such as their pitch, tone, and other acoustic features.
  • Iris or retina scans which capture detailed images of either the iris (colored part of the eye) or retina (innermost layer of the eye), both of which have unique patterns.
  • Facial recognition which analyzes and compares facial features such as the arrangement of the eyes, nose, mouth, and other distinctive facial attributes. It is facial recognition that eNotaryLog’s Florida online notary publics use.

Advantages of Facial Recognition in RON

As noted above, in eNotaryLog’s online notarization workflow facial recognition is used in place of knowledge-based authentication questions for two primary reasons; facial recognition is more secure and faster.

Knowledge-based authentication generates questions that supposedly only the signer should be able to answer within the allotted time, questions such as; what color was the car you were driving in 2016, and what street did you live on in 1984. These questions are generated from the signers publicly available data, primarily US credit data and housing history which are already targets for sophisticated fraudsters. KBA can also be unavailable for those without enough data such as younger signers and foreigners with limited contact with the US. Furthermore, the facial recognition services eNotaryLog uses includes a “liveness” test which analyzes the video feed and image to root out anyone trying to circumvent the security method by using a photograph or the more sophisticated deepfake technology. Facial recognition is also a simpler and faster process as KBA questions can take a few minutes to generate and answer, saving the signer the effort of answering a series of questions by simply analyzing their unique facial characteristics.

Florida Joins the Biometric Authentication Trend

For the reasons above, Florida joins the growing list of states including, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and more, enabling online notaries to take advantage of biometric authentication technologies to perform their duties. For greater security and less hassle, try out eNotaryLog’s remote online notarization platform and services for your notarial needs.

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