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DHS looks to blockchain to deter counterfeit certificates

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is looking to blockchain to prevent forgeries in the certificates and licenses issued by Customs and Border Protection, Citizen and Immigration Services and the Transportation Security Administration, DHS said in a recent Other Transaction Solicitation. The agencies' current paper-based issuance processes are often "non-interoperable and are subject to loss, destruction, forgery and counterfeiting,” DHS said.

S&T is looking for solutions that address one or more of the following technical topic areas:

  1. Issuance and verification certificates, licenses and attestations.
  2. Storage and management of certificates, licenses and attestations.
  3. Decentralized and derived personal identity verification credentials.

The agency wants counter-fraud solutions that address interoperability challenges and enterprise lifecycle management and feature a high degree of usability. They must also be standards based.

“This potential for the development of “walled gardens” or closed technology platforms that do not support common standards for security, privacy, and data exchange would limit the growth and availability of a competitive marketplace of diverse, interoperable solutions,” according to the solicitation.

DHS issued the Other Transaction Solicitation through its Silicon Valley Innovation program, which uses a streamlined application and pitch process for startup companies with viable technologies.

S&T will be holding an industry day on Dec. 11 in Menlo Park, Calif. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with the final deadline of May 23, 2019.

Read the full solicitation here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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