Declan McCullagh of CBS News reports on January 7, 2011, “Obama Eyeing Internet ID for Americans,” that Obama is planning to “hand authority” to the U.S. Commerce Department to create an Internet ID for Americans, all in the name of “cybersecurity.”
At an event at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt identified Silicon Valley as “the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government” to centralize efforts toward creating an “identity ecosystem” for the Internet.
The Obama administration is currently drafting the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace,” which Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said will be released in the next few months. An early version was publicly released last summer, but details about the new “trusted identity” project are unusually scarce. Last year’s announcement referenced a possible forthcoming smart card or digital certificate that would prove that online users are who they say they are. These digital IDs would be offered to consumers by online vendors for financial transactions.
Locke said at the Stanford event:
“We are not talking about a national ID card. We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.”
The Commerce Department will be setting up a national program office to work on this project, Locke said.
Schmidt stressed that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain possible on the Internet, “I don’t have to get a credential if I don’t want to.” He said there’s no chance that “a centralized database will emerge,” and called on the private sector to lead the implementation of the project.
Tell your reps in D.C., especially the new GOP-majority House, that you are dubious about this so-called “trusted identities in cyberspace” project. The project, as described by Obama administration officials, is full of nice-sounding but completely vague buzz words. We need to ask what “identity ecosystem” and “more trusted digital identities” mean? Why are details about this project “unusually scarce“?
Resist the ObamaBorg!
For a free PDF version of JJ Luna’s “How to be Invisible” on the internet, CLICK HERE.
H/t beloved fellows May, Tina, & Joseph.