Citing the critical need to improve security and curb identity theft and fraud in cyberspace, the White House, in partnership with other public- and private-sector organizations, has released a plan to promote safer data exchange.
The government's proposed plan, called the National Strategy for Trusted Entities in Cyberspace, aims to address issues such as the safety of personal health information and banking data and relies primarily on the creation of an “identity ecosystem.” The identity ecosystem, according to the draft, is an online environment that would reduce the need for multiple passwords and logins by offering people the opportunity to obtain a secure, interoperable credential for multiple-use authentication.
The infrastructure would allow individuals and organizations to “complete online transactions with confidence, trusting the identities of each other,” said Howard Schmidt, national cybersecurity coordinator, in a June 25 announcement.
In one example from the draft, a woman requests a smart identity card from her home state and then uses it to provide authentication for a number of uses, including obtaining her electronic health record. Participation through the use of identity cards or other means would be voluntary, Schmidt said.
The government will be an early adopter of the identity ecosystem for government services, and it would work to identify and facilitate pilot programs in the healthcare, information technology and financial sectors, according to the draft.