US Passport online could be a .NET Passport

US govt evaluates Microsoft Passport for services

The US Government is evaluating Microsoft Corp's Passport to verify the identity of American citizens, federal employees and businesses who access planned online services, a move that could herald the system's largest single rollout. Federal officials will begin testing web sites in September that allow businesses to pay taxes and up to 285m US citizens to learn about benefits and social services. Passport is being considered as a way to authenticate users of the web sites, according to the Seattle Times.

White House technology Czar Mark Forman is reported to have revealed details at Microsoft's Government Leaders Conference in Seattle, Washington, this week. Forman, associate director of IT for the White House, told conference delegates the government has not yet selected a technology. The US Government's decision to evaluate Passport comes as analyst GarnterGroup found that the number of registered Passport users has doubled during the last six months - from seven million in August 2001 to 14 million as of February 2002.

However, Gartner found consumers are signing up out of necessity rather than choice. Gartner found 84% registered because they were required to when adopting Microsoft products like Hotmail, Windows XP and Microsoft Messenger, compared to 61%.

Passport has proved incredibly controversial. Microsoft holds data of customers who use Passport, but industry and customer opposition has forced the company to revise this. Future versions of Microsoft .NET My Services, which will use Passport, will be re-worked to let enterprises customers run their own services, side stepping the Microsoft middleman.

So, it does seem that now there's another reason which could help anti-Passport adopters to change their minds. At least in the US of A anyhows.

Also, how could the DoJ fight bring forth sanctions that could affect .NET's future if the government themselves are looking at adopting it?

News source: The Reg

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