Browser Firm That Required Users To Confirm Their Real Life Identity Shut Down After Its Employees Were Threatened (

New submitter nleskovic shares a report: When Authenticated Reality launched last year, it seemed that the company had struck gold in terms of market demand and fit. The Austin-based startup had developed a Web browser that would require users to prove they are who they say they are. Users would have to sign up for an account — scanning their driver’s license and taking a photo — in order to download the browser, which would sit “on top” of the Internet, said Chris Ciabarra, Authenticated Reality’s co-founder, in an interview last year. “Everybody knows who everybody is,” he said. So, when Facebook announced this week that its site was, once again, home to inauthentic pages and accounts designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming midterm Congressional elections, I contacted Ciabarra to find out how the company was doing. But, he said Wednesday that he had shut down the startup just a month after its debut. He said people who had heard about Authenticated Reality from media reports were visiting the firm’s offices in California and threatening employees. (The addresses were listed on the website.) “It was getting kind of scary,” he told me. “They were thinking we were taking their freedom away because they had to sign up using a driver’s license. They thought we were trying to follow them.”

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