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President Obama calls for trusted online identification systems

On April 17, 2011, in Internet, Privacy, United States, by Jorge Espinosa

On Friday the Obama administration released the second draft version of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (“NSTIC”).  The trusted ID plan is part of the Obama administrations Cyberspace Policy Review, released in May 2009.  This new draft focuses the effort to create an online identification system on the private sector with the government serving in a coordinating capacity.

The press release emphasizes the importance of the Internet to commerce but also its “online fraud and identity theft, that harm consumers and cost billions of dollars each year.”  By making online transactions trustworthy “we will prevent costly crime, we will give businesses and consumers new confidence, and we will foster growth and untold innovation.”

Key elements of the trusted identification systems suggested by the strategy include the ability to opt into the system, different types of credential for different categories of access and preservation of an anonymous option.  The strategy promises benefits such as faster transaction processing, age restriction for content, easier smartphone transactions and enhance public safety.

Much criticism of the strategy has come from privacy advocates.  This latest draft emphasizes that identification systems will be optional and will not abolish anonymity.  At the announcement of the latest draft Commerce Secretary Gary Locke dismissed such worries as conspiracy theories.


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