Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Update on a U.S. Internet Id

The White House plans to work with the private sector to create an identity ecosystem.

Discussions go back and forth.  Some opponents are concerned about privacy on various levels, including questions about who would own the aggregated data and how data breaches would be avoided.

In the Washington Times article, they posted a quote by the Inspector General of NARA:

"While each case of data breach, loss or undue risk of loss represents a unique stanza, the chorus of the song remains the same," Paul Brachfeld, NARA's inspector general, said in a 2009 congressional hearing. "Internal control weaknesses, lapses and exercises of questionable judgment tied to other incidents I have spoken of today regularly leave me and my staff frustrated and bewildered."

Companies and Government Organizations have a constant battle keeping records under their care safe from accidental and intentional exposure.

The Administration has stated the program would be voluntary.

The Commerce Department will establish a program office to work on this initiative.

It will be interesting to see what incentives are built to encourage adoption of internet ids by American consumers.

What would make you decide to get one?

1.  Child  safety experts have long felt that an internet identity system is critical to protecting kids
2.  Trusted identities could be used as another layer of authentication before accessing your personal information online, such as your bank account balance
3.  There might be a way to create an economical, digital certificate that belongs to you, think of it as a password passport so you can have one digital identity vs. many passwords to access information

1.  Large collections of userid/password or other identifying parts of information are targets for cybercriminals
2.  Who do you trust to be the agent that holds your internet identity?
3.  It is not clear what information is part of your identity or follows your internet identity around.  Is it just who you are or what you like to do on the internet?
4.   If this is "optional" and led by the private sector as suggested, we may be creating bureaucracy within the Commerce Department that cannot actually manage this or may not be needed


See Previous Fortalice Blog Post

"Obama Wants Internet ID for All Americans", Kevin Parrish, Tom's Guide, January 12, 2011.

"No more passwords? Obama considers Internet ID for Americans in bid to boost web security", David Gardner, Daily Mail Online UK, January 10, 2011.

"Obama Administration Reportedly Plans to Create Internet ID for All Americans", Fox News, January 8, 2011.

"Obama's Internet passport Administration wants national ID card for online commentary", Editorial by the Washington Times, January 13, 2011.

"Obama to hand Commerce Dept. authority over cybersecurity ID", Declan McCullagh, CNET News, January 7, 2011.

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