In an age when nobody thinks twice about sending large sums of money over the Internet – despite the risks inherent in the process – it seems strange that institutions, enterprises, schools, and government organizations still require that those seeking their services proffer a physical piece of paper to prove who they are. If an electronic copy of your resume is fine, why not an electronic version of your college diploma?
A very good question, says Danny Klein, CEO of MyEasyDocs, a small Israeli start-up that helps clients all over the world safely exchange and accept electronic versions of official institutional-issued documents. Among the organizations that use MyEasyDocs verified document system are schools and universities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, law firms, government-sponsored accreditation organizations – as well as the United Nations, which accepts verified digital documents vetted by MyEasyDocs.
“Identity theft and use of fraudulent documents are increasing alarmingly,” Klein told the Times of Israel. “These in turn also possess a threat to national security. Universities have already spent massive amounts on RFID mark sheets and barcode embedding systems which are still ineffective against fraud. As the Internet opens up possibilities of location-independent and instantaneous transactions, a secure online document issue and authentication system can completely transform the age-old process of paperwork and make it more secure, smooth, efficient and easy.”
With MyEasyDocs, said Klein, the exchange of documents is as secure online as it is in person, because the issuing institution verifies the documents it issued. For example, a student wishing to submit a diploma or course transcripts to another school can upload the documents to MyEasyDocs, which then checks the database of the issuing institution to ensure that the documents are legitimate. Once the document is verified, it is kept in an online, secure trusted account, and can be share with anyone.
Besides saving the user the trouble of bringing their documents to an institution in person, said Klein, the system also saves recipient institutions the work of having to verify that the documents they receive are legitimate. “It’s like having a notary public verify the documents,” he said.
Among Klein’s objectives is persuading governments to accept MyEasyDocs-verified documents as proof of notarization (in most jurisdictions, accepting such documents in place of physically notarized ones would probably require an act of legislature). While the road to full notary acceptance is still a lengthy one, Klein has already set up the infrastructure for that acceptance, with an electronic notarization that is physically verified by notaries on both sides of a document exchange, even if the document’s owner is not present.
MyEasyDocs also offers a simple verification system for non-official use, with a document, like a contract, registered as “official” by responding to a text message sent out by MyEasyDocs, which indicates that they are indeed the sender. At this point the document is sent to the recipient. The system allows recipients of non-secure documents, like personal correspondence, to open such documents with full confidence that the correspondence is legitimate, and not a hacker’s trick.
MyEasyDocs is small but growing, already servicing over 50 academic institutions and a student base of more than three million. Klein, an oleh from South Africa, founded the company with three other people who live and work abroad – via Skype. “We’ve never actually met in person, but that shows you the power of the Internet,” he said. “I believe that the vision of an efficient, fraud-free global electronic document verification and authentication system can be achieved when the system becomes a truly universal platform where various government agencies, public and private educational institutions, embassies and other document issuing agencies should be brought together onto a common platform.”