Obama Outlines Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace

Monday, April 18, 2011

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President Obama has further outlined steps for the implementation of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) online secure identity credentials.

Development of the NSTIC is the government's response to the sharp increase in online fraud and identity theft, and would seek to establish a standardized credential for online transactions and replace the current system of consumer-chosen usernames and passwords.

“By making online transactions more trustworthy and better protecting privacy, we will prevent costly crime, we will give businesses and consumers new confidence, and we will foster growth and untold innovation... The Internet has transformed how we communicate and do business, But it has also led to new challenges, like online fraud and identity theft, that harm consumers and cost billions of dollars each year. That's why this initiative is so important for our economy,President Barack Obama said in a statement last Friday.

Participation would be optional, though if the majority of businesses offering online transactions required the NSTIC credential, most consumers would have little choice but to register.

“Consumers who want to participate will be able to obtain a single credential -- such as a unique piece of software on a smart phone, a smart card, or a token that generates a one-time digital password,” the Commerce Department told Reuters.

The NSTIC standard would significantly reduce the instances of online impersonation, account hijacking, and other forms of fraud with associated costs that are ultimately borne by the consumer.

The credentials would also act to mitigate the risk of unauthorized financial mobile transactions and crimes carried out by way of malware such as the Zeus Trojan and keylogging software designed to harvest login credentials..

“The consumer can use their single credential to log into any website, with more security than passwords alone provide. Consumers can use their credential to prove their identity when they're carrying out sensitive transactions, like banking, and can stay anonymous when they are not," a White House statement said.

Critics of the NSTIC proposal have warned that the proposal would be a first step towards introducing a standard form of nation identification, but the Center for Democracy & Technology(CDT) said in a statement that the NSTIC was in no way a proposal to establish a national identification program.

“There are two key points about this strategy: First, this is NOT a government-mandated, national ID program; in fact, it's not an identity 'program' at all. Second, this is a call by the administration to the private sector to step up, take leadership of this effort and provide the innovation to implement a privacy-enhancing, trusted system," said CDT president Leslie Harris.

Source:  http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/2031139/govt_issues_cyberspace_security_proposal/index.html?source=r_technology

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