Task force outlines federal ID management approach

A new report by a federal task force on identity management
catalogs the challenges government agencies face in collecting and
using personally identifiable information and outlines an initial
set of recommendations for building a more organized framework for
identity management.

Duane Blackburn, a policy analyst with the White House Office of
Science and Technology Policy and a member of the Identity
Management Task Force, highlighted the group’s findings at an
identity management conference held by the International Technology
Association of America.

Among the task force’s conclusions:

  • There are more than 3,000 systems within the U.S. government
    that utilize personally identifiable information (PII), and the
    vast majority of these were designed and managed independently from
    one another.

  • Duplicative identity data is frequently stored in multiple
    locations within the same agency and across agencies, resulting in
    problems with accuracy and complications when an individual seeks

  • A lack of commonly used standards makes cross-function
    collaboration difficult, making it harder to respond to
    time-sensitive missions;

  • Privacy protection efforts vary in complexity across agencies;

  • The absence of a single governmentwide forum responsible for
    coordinating and homogenizing identity management efforts continues
    to hamper progress.

[IMGCAP(1)]The report, released late last month, lays a foundation
for building an architectural framework for a single, interoperable
and federated approach to identity management, Blackburn said.

Specifically, the task force recommended developing an identity
architecture with three components: digital identity repositories,
where personal identifiable information is stored; privilege
applications, which grant permission to complete transactions; and
a global telecommunications grid that can support screening and
authentication functions.

While the work of the task force is still in the early stages,
Blackburn noted that the coalition would continue to push for a
standards-based architecture that protects privacy, improves
accuracy and provides greater authentication and access

The task force is made up of representatives from a number of
agencies including the Defense, State, Justice, and Homeland
Security departments, the Office of Management and Budget, the
National Institute of Standards and Technology, the federal CIO
Council, and the National Science and Technology Council and its
subcommittee on Biometrics and Identity Management, which led the
task force.

The complete report is available here (.pdf).

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.


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