US government proposes singular Internet identity plan

The United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC) proposed a plan at an event earlier today to create a secure Internet identification system. The plan hopes to eliminate the current status quo—currently multiple passwords and usernames, or even the same username and password—that are easy to guess and to be stolen. The plan stressed that this strategy is not a national Internet ID card, that it's completely voluntary, and will be run by private sectors.

"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," President Barack Obama said in a statement from the White House.

The plan, titled National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), was first drafted in January of this year. Much hasn't changed since the first iteration of the plan, though Arstechnica points out that there is an even stronger emphasis on the aforementioned fact that it will be run by private sectors and be a voluntary service.

As the White House puts it, "consumers who want to participate will be able to obtain a single credential—such as a unique piece of software on a smart phone, a smart card, or a token that generates a one-time digital password" that would allow them to login to any website "with more security than passwords alone provide."

Password have certainly proven to be susceptible to breach, especially recently. In mid-December of 2010, Gawker Media suffered a security breach that exposed more than one million of its registered users' usernames, email addresses, and passwords.

The plan, while promoting security in respect to one's identity, is also aiming to help businesses build viable commerce online. The White House outlines that a small business without the funds to create its own login system online "would be able to avoid the cost" and "could more easily take its business online." In fact, Bloomberg reports that the United States government plans to spend more than $56 million "on technology aimed at safeguarding the online marketplace" including the NSTIC.

You can read the entire strategy on the White House website or by clicking here.

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