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Short Description

Verification (of data) is the act, by or on behalf of a party, of determining whether that data is authentic (i.e. originates from the party that authored it), timely (i.e. has not expired), and conforms to other specifications that apply to its structure. It does NOT imply that whatever the data represents is actually true, accurate, real or justified (as per the definitions of Merriam-Webster or Lexico (Oxford dictionary)).

This definition generalizes the definition by W3C VC: "The evaluation of whether a verifiable credential or verifiable presentation is an authentic and timely statement of the issuer or presenter, respectively. This includes checking that: the credential (or presentation) conforms to the specification; the proof method is satisfied; and, if present, the status check succeeds."

Also note that verification is distinct from validation, as verification is a test on the structure of data, whereas validation tests the validity of such data for a particular (set of) purpose(s), which also has to do with meaning. Specifically, data that fails particular verification tests can still be valid for some purpose. For example, a passport that has recently expired may still be valid to identify its bearer. The converse may also be true: data that satisfies timeliness tests, e.g. hasn't expired yet, may still not be valid for specific purposes. For example, in order to apply for a Chinese (tourist) visa, the passport must not expire within 6 months of arrival in China.