The Improving Digital Identity Act of 2020 provides a first step in developing more secure, interoperable digital credentials.
To cut down on data breaches and identity theft, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers is looking to overhaul personal digital identification for U.S. citizens.
The Improving Digital Identity Act of 2020 would set up a task force across federal, state and local government charged with creating a new "standards-based architecture" for digital identity verification services and to determine whether it makes sense for federal agencies to supply identity verification to the private sector on a fee-based model.
The bill also calls for the Department of Homeland Security to order federal agencies to put into place digital identity guidelines created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and to implement practices called for in a May 2019 White House memo on improving identity, credential and access management.
Additionally it establishes a digital identity innovation grant program for states to upgrade the systems they use to issue drivers’ licenses and other types of identity credentials and supports the development of interoperable digital identity verification systems in accordance with the framework developed by NIST.
Co-sponsor Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) called the bill a "much-needed first step" in developing more secure, interoperable digital credentials. With COVID-19 accelerating consumers' migration to online banking, investing, shopping and health care, Foster said, ramping up digital identity protections is crucial to protect online transactions.
Reps. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), and Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) also back the legislation.
"Whether logging into an email account or checking test results from a doctor, people rely on their digital identities every day," Langevin said in a statement. "Yet even as the range of online services continues to expand, the most authoritative form of ID remains the decidedly analog driver’s license."
The bill also has support from the Better Identity Coalition, a cross-industry trade group representing financial services, health care, insurance, technology, financial technology, payments and security providers on issues related to identity management. The coalition, formed in 2018, has been pushing for stronger digital identity protections.
"We're thrilled to see a bipartisan group of House members come together to recognize the importance of these challenges and put forth common-sense legislation to help Americans better protect their security and privacy in the digital world," Jeremy Grant, coordinator of the Better Identity Coalition, said in a statement.
This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.