NIST publication explores the needs for both user and device identity management

Do you know who's using your public safety network?

A new report, Considerations for Identity Management in Public Safety Networks, analyzes approaches to identity management for public safety networks, with a particular focus on the nationwide public safety broadband network based on the long-term evolution family of standards.

Produced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the document analyzes approaches to identity management for public safety networks in an effort to help those creating technical and policy requirements. It discusses both the user and device identities required in many public safety scenarios, where identity and attribute information may need to be shared between public safety agencies and organizations.

The document discusses a variety of technologies for the authentication of individuals and devices:

User authentication:  PINs, passwords, tokens, gestures and fingerprint scanners.

Remote user authentication: Passwords, smartcards and biometrics as well as one-time password devices, attached contact smartcard readers, near-field communication smartcards, software cryptographic tokens and removable and embedded hardware security modules.

Remote device authentication: Software and hardware tokens, or identity verification via the user’s knowledge of a credential.  Cached and/or pre-shared digital certificates and certificate status information would be important if during an emergency the NPSBN were not functioning properly, NIST noted.

More research is needed on new native and third-party biometric capabilities to ensure these technologies are accurate. Another general class of technologies requiring additional scrutiny is wearables, NIST said.

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