Networking Site Safety
Two USC juniors have turned what began as a class project into a national business: Portcard.net, a service that verifies online identities. The service allows people age 21 and older to authenticate their online identity, proving they are who they say they are. The user fills in basic information and the site pulls background information about the user from public databases and credit records. The user must then answer a series of randomly selected personal questions in less than a minute each. The questions are designed so that only the real person would be able to answer correctly in the allotted time frame. If the user passes the background test, they become authenticated and when they log on to networking sites, other users see that person's identity is validated. In the interest of safety, users are encouraged to converse only with other authenticated users. If an authenticated user engages in predatory activity, portcard.net can quickly pull up their identification information for local authorities.