Trusted online identities plan hinges on collaboration

NSTIC director says strategy needs input of public, private sectors

SAN FRANCISCO — The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks, and its success will depend on the collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders in both the public and private sectors, information security officials said Feb. 15 at the RSA Security Conference.

“Collaboration is going to be at the core of the strategy,” said Jeremy Grant, newly appointed director of the NSTIC National Program Office. “We can’t do this ourselves, and we really don’t want to.”

The goal of the strategy is creation of an identity ecosystem that will make flexible, voluntary and easy-to-use tools for online identity authentication widely available. This is seen as a key to ensuring the viability of the Internet as an economic driver.

One of the challenges to encouraging adoption of the plan is the concern that NSTIC will involve an online national ID. Countering this fear will require the involvement of industry in making a variety of technologies available and adopting their use.

Related coverage:

NIST: National ID is not part of ‘identity ecosystem’

ID management’s weakness: ‘There is no demand’

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said at the conference that the government intends to use its “convening powers” to bring private industry to the table to address these issues. The plan does not envision a single credential and need not threaten privacy, Schmidt said.

“Trust does not mean you know everything about everybody,” he said. The NSTIC ecosystem envisions selective use of credentials as appropriate.

On Tuesday, Grant was in his second day on the job as head of the program office, which has not been formally set up yet. It was announced two weeks ago that NSTIC would be established in the Commerce Department. Once the office is set up and the strategy has been signed, Grant said, his first task would be to identify government stakeholders to participate. These probably will include the General Services Administration, which oversees the government’s federated identity programs, as well as technology providers and relying parties.

As for plans for identifying and bringing companies to the table, Grant could say only, “stay tuned.” That is a job he has not yet worked out.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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Reader Comments

Tue, Feb 22, 2011 Dan L.

@Adam Neira: "Some regulation and oversight of the world wide web is required." Why don't you build your own global communications system? Then you could regulate it however you want. Anonymous and people like them built the internet in the first place. If you don't like the rules you're free not to use it.

Mon, Feb 21, 2011 Anonymous Earth

This is unacceptable. That is all.

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.

Sun, Feb 20, 2011

If the government is for this no good can come from it. The government can taste online national ID. coming from this venture. If you don't believe it you're a fool! Leave the web alone, it's fine the way it is.

Sun, Feb 20, 2011 DDearborn

Hmmm "internet" ID, national ID, 666 the mark of the beast. Call it what you will, this is the sign of a totalitarian dictatorship. Clearly the people have spoken on this subject, and the resounding answer over and over is NO!! not now, not ever! And yet it still goes forward. The government is bending to the will of its masters, and obviously it is not the people of this country. Any form of national ID is NOT to protect you the individual from external threats. Its sole purpose is to protect the powers behind the scenes that control the government from you! Your papers please!! click those heels when you come to attention.......

Sun, Feb 20, 2011 Adam Neira Melb, Australia

Anonymous posters should be banned from the internet. Some regulation and oversight of the world wide web is required.

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