With identity theft becoming a widespread problem in America and around the world, the White House has decided to come up with a comprehensive strategy to fight the epidemic, and is asking for the public's help.
Late last week, the federal government released a draft of what could become the country's anti-identity theft blueprint, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. According to the technology news website CNET, the government wants to set up a system that would allow Americans to voluntarily create trusted identities to use online. The White House says its goal is to secure and protect transactions with the use of a special form of ID that would prove people's identity.
CNET's report said that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has also launched a website to help cull ideas and feedback on the NSTIC from the American public through July 19. Users will be able to submit their own ideas, comment on others, and even vote on issues. It will then use these comments and suggestions to finalize its strategy in the fall.
The NSTIC was created in response to President Obama's Cyberspace Policy Review, CNET said. It was created with input from government agencies, business leaders and privacy advocates. The administration says it wants an "identity ecosystem" to help citizens feel more secure when making transactions online.
Essentially, the new digital identification system will serve as a kind of pass for every participating website, helping to eliminate the need for consumers to remember a variety of different usernames and passwords for each website they use. The report said the ID system will also let individuals choose and control the amount of private information they reveal to authenticate their transactions.
A blog post on the White House website written by Howard Schmidt, the cybersecurity coordinator and special assistant to the president, outlined the plan in greater detail. It said that the system's goal is to "enable a future where individuals can voluntarily choose to obtain a secure, interoperable, and privacy-enhancing credential" that they will be able to use with a wide range of service providers both public and private. The identities will be able to be used in everything from simply sending email to online banking and purchasing and even accessing online medical records.