Federal government, DM firms team up on open identity pilot

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The federal government is taking on online security not only from a prosecutorial perspective but, also from the position of wanting to drive innovation.

Recently, the US Department of Justice announced arrests in the largest data breach case ever, as DMNews reported here. Now comes word that the government is working on a pilot program with Yahoo!, PayPal, Google, Equifax, AOL, VeriSign, Acxiom, Citi, Privo and Wave Systems to provide digital identities for Americans so they can engage with government Web sites.   

The program is part of President Obama's open government initiative, which seeks to make the federal government more transparent, participatory and collaborative. Interactive government Web sites play a big role in this strategy.

The companies involved will act as digital identity providers using OpenID and Information Card technologies. The pilot programs are being conducted by the Center for Information Technology, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and related agencies. The participating companies are being certified under non-discriminatory open trust frameworks developed under collaboration between the OpenID Foundation and the Information Card Foundation per the federal government Trust Framework Provider Adoption Process.

The idea will be to enable US citizens to register and access several government Websites without having to establish multiple user names and passwords. Each individual's digital identity card will be stored on the person's computer. Members of the public will be able to fully control how much or how little personal information they share with the government at all times.

"It's good to see government taking a leadership role in moving identity technology forward,” said Bob Blakley, VP and research director, identity and privacy strategies, Burton Group, in a statement.


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