Restoring Trust Online?

Could this government backed internet ID system be the answer to cybersecurity concerns and restoring trust online?–PC Pitstop.

Restoring Trust Online?

by Natasha Stokes for Techlicious

Internet users are pushing back against the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) initiative, a government-led online identification system currently in the pilot phase. Much of the furor circles around the possibility, stoked by all-too-frequent revelations of surveillance by the National Security Agency, that NSTIC pushes toward a single-ID system that would enable the U.S. government to track its citizens online.

In reality, NSTIC software prohibits tracking. The program’s aim is to create a standard for high-security internet identity, initially for users of the government’s digital services. In an era of lax attitudes to online privacy and deep security exploitations like the Heartbleed virus, could such an online ID system be the sensible next step? Or is the NSTIC setting the United States more firmly on the path to becoming a Big Brother state?

What is NSTIC?

NSTIC is a federated ID system in which third-party companies verify an account for use in other services. In this case, several companies chosen by the government create high-security accounts initially for use in digital government services such as voter registration or driver’s license applications.

The secure ID could eventually be used at other sites around the Internet. Given that NSTIC is funded by the Department of Commerce and was originally devised to reduce fraud in online transactions, it isn’t a leap to imagine that e-tailers might be the next to offer log-ins using an NSTIC credential.

The NSTIC ID is opt in, meaning that signing up is still optional for now. However, the government will encourage all new users of its digital services to create an NSTIC-aligned ID, offering a standalone government account as a last resort.

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This excerpt appears with the permission of Techlicious.

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