Re: WebID-ISSUE-8 (bblfish): US (Commerce Department?) ID initiative

The initiative is called The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in
Cyberspace. A draft version of the proposed initiative can be found here
(it takes awhile to load):

Here are seven additonal resources (with more details) on the US
government's plan to create Internet IDs for all Americans. The first
three are outside resources, the last four are resources on the US
Commerce Department's website and the White House website.

Outside resources on this issue:

US Commerce Department resources on this issue:

NOTE: The last link has an embedded video of the Stanford Institute for
Economic Policy Research event where the official announcement was made.

White House resources on this issue:

>From that last link:

"The NSTIC calls for the creation of an online environment where
individuals can voluntarily choose to obtain a secure, interoperable, and
privacy-enhancing credential from a variety of service providers – both
public and private – to authenticate themselves online for different types
of transactions.  The draft strategy includes important privacy
protections and is based on a user-centric model that allows users more
control of their private information."

It should be noted that currently the idea is to make this a voluntary,
opt-in program.

I tweeted about this initiative several weeks ago, expressing my views. 
I'll briefly share them here.

As the Web (and of course the Internet) transcends national boundaries, no
one democratic government should dictate how its peoples legally use it.
Of course, as stated above, at this time the program would be voluntary in
the US. But, this program could set a dangerous precedent that other
countries may adopt. It is foreseeable that some countries could make
Internet ID programs mandatory for their citizens.

At this time it is not clear whether this effort would be centrally
controlled. There are a few sources that indicate that Howard Schmidt had
initially stated in the past that it would be a government controlled
system. In the announcement video, though, it is stated that it would not
be a government-controlled system.

As the realities of this program are not yet clear, we can only speculate..
However, I think that we would all agree that forcing identity management
via a tightly centralized, controlled platform is antithetical to Web's
spirit and to the Internet's health.

Since WebID already facilitates a Web of Trust, there is no need for a
government project to do something that can already be done. Therefore, we
should reach out to the White House and the Commerce Department and
instruct them on the many benefits of WebID. I'm not sure if they will be
interested, but it is worth the effort.


> WebID-ISSUE-8 (bblfish): US (Commerce Department?) ID initiative
> Raised by: Henry Story
> On product:
> A couple of reports seem to be pointing to the White House or US
> Government Department ID initiative.
> Mischa Tuffield brought up  earlier on the WebID list [1] where he pointed
> to an
> article entitled "White House to establish internet IDs" [2].  Later the
> same week
> Daniel Bos pointed to [3]  a Businessweek article "Say Goodbye to All
> Those Passwords" [4] claiming
> this was a Commerce Department initiative. They certainly sound like the
> same thing.
> Neither of these articles are detailing what technology is to be used. It
> seems more
> like the US department is still searching for the technology. But it is
> not clear.
> We should try to understand more clearly what this is about.
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]
> [4]

Received on Friday, 28 January 2011 15:40:05 UTC