President Barack Obama today released the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, a 45-page outline (PDF) of how the government will work with the private sector to develop what's described as an electronic "identity ecosystem" to protect privacy and curb online fraud.
White House issues online privacy strategy
"The Internet has transformed how we communicate and do business, opening up markets and connecting our society as never before," Obama said in a news release accompanying the release of the plan. "But it has also led to new challenges, like online fraud and identity theft, that harm consumers and cost billions of dollars each year. By making online transactions more trustworthy and better protecting privacy, we will prevent costly crime, we will give businesses and consumers new confidence, and we will foster growth and untold innovation."
Commerce Department Secretary Gary Locke said in the same statement that government will work with industry and consumer advocates to develop identity proofing standards "so that the marketplace can provide more secure online credentials while protecting privacy, for consumers who want them."
The resulting identity ecosystem will be based "on the full set of the Fair Information Practice Principles," or FIPPS, according to the release.
The principles, developed by HHS' predecessor, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in 1973, have become an international gold standard of rules for privacy protection and include the right of consumers whose data is being stored by an entity for one purpose to have control over secondary uses of that information.
According to the White House release, "a FIPPs-based approach will also promote the adoption of privacy-enhancing technical standards. As envisioned by the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, such standards will minimize the ability to link credential use among service providers, thereby preventing them from developing a complete picture of an individual's activities online."
The release comes the same week as several members of Congress have introduced legislation seeking to regulate online privacy while the Maine Legislature contemplates giving patients the right to opt out of a statewide health information exchange.
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