Driver’s License for the Internet: an Optional Tool?

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The White House is leading efforts for online authentication technology -- a new form of identification that some have called a driver's license for the Internet.

But program leaders at the National Institute of Standards and Technology maintain that such a characterization is inaccurate, while privacy groups worry that the program’s scope could creep beyond the bounds of constitutionality if not carefully managed.

Today’s incarnation of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) endeavors to provide state residents with a common identity for acquiring services across state departments, piloting technology that could be used more broadly online. Michigan and Pennsylvania are now running federally-funded pilot programs to test early versions of the technology. An additional 10 organizations will be announced to receive pilot funding in August.

The program is also NIST’s effort to encourage the private sector to develop viable alternatives to a well-known but aging form of authentication: the password.

Driver’s License for the Internet: an Optional Tool?