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White House Cybersecurity Czar Unveils National Strategy For Trusted Online Identity
Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 29 June 2010 18:05

From Dark Reading

Devil's in the details for Obama administration's draft plan for eliminating passwords and advancing authentication, security expert say

The White House has outlined a national strategy for trusted digital identities that could ultimately eliminate the username-and-password model and lay the groundwork for a nationwide federated identity infrastructure.


Howard Schmidt, cybersecurity coordinator and special assistant to the president, unveiled the administration's strategy for what he called an identity "ecosystem" for users and organizations to conduct online transactions securely and privately such that identities of all parties are trusted.

"For example, no longer should individuals have to remember an ever-expanding and potentially insecure list of usernames and passwords to login into various online services. Through the strategy we seek to enable a future where individuals can voluntarily choose to obtain a secure, interoperable, and privacy-enhancing credential (e.g., a smart identity card, a digital certificate on their cell phone, etc) from a variety of service providers -- both public and private -- to authenticate themselves online for different types of transactions (e.g., online banking, accessing electronic health records, sending email, etc.)," Schmidt blogged late last week.

The White House won't issue a controversial national identity card for online authentication, however, according to the new National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) draft paper, which is open for public comment and input until July 19.

Schmidt said the identity ecosystem or framework would be user-centric: "That means you, as a user, will be able to have more control of the private information you use to authenticate yourself on-line, and generally will not have to reveal more than is necessary to do so," Schmidt blogged.

The paper, a product of the White House's cybersecurity policy review last year, was created with input from government agencies, business leaders, and privacy advocates. Among other things, it calls for designating a federal agency to lead the public-private sector efforts to implement the blueprint, and for the federal government to lead the way in the adoption of secure digital identities.

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