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GCN : January 2013
The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace is working to develop an interoperable framework for a digital identity ecosystem to make online transactions more secure and enable more government and economic activity on the Internet. NSTIC has awarded $9 million in grants to five pilot programs run by government agencies, industry and academia on different aspects of the ecosystem, including: Motor vehicle departments were not originally intended to be in the iden- tity business and drivers' licenses were not intended for identification. But drivers' licenses have evolved into de facto government IDs and DMVs have become the first line of government identity proofing. The AAMVA's Cross- Sector Digital Identity Initiative (CSDII) will try to leverage that expertise with a framework to enable the secure ex- change and verification of identity data. "The whole concept of electronic IDs is a paradigm shift," for DMVs, said AAMVA director of ID standards Geoff Slagle. It potentially enables DMVs to become third-party sources for verify- ing identity for online transactions. The organization's program could use multiple sources of data to verify online identity. Under the federal government's four levels of assurance for ID creden- tials, drivers' licenses now are rated at a strong 2 (with 4 being the high- est) Slagle said. To raise that level of assurance so that licenses could be used for more sensitive transactions, license data could be associated with other sources. Doing this would require multiple verifications, each to be bound with the license information. DMVs could play multiple roles in the scheme, both authenticating identities online for third parties and verifying personal information presented for licensing. The CSDII framework would require establishment of standards and policies for the parties involved, and AAMVA will build on existing technologies and standards. "We don't want to be re-inventing the wheel," Slagle said. "It's not our aim to be a standards development organization." The program, now in its early stages, will include two proof-of-concept deployments before launching a larger pilot program, which is expected to wrap up within two years. Participating in the AAMVA pilot are Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles; Biometric Signature ID, a provider of two-factor authentica- tion; CA Technologies; Microsoft; and AT&T. TRUSTED ID The five grantees were selected from 186 applications. Grant said those selected all include a broad range of collaborating partners working in health care, retail, banking, government and education, and are not R&D efforts. Each project will focus on different aspects of the ecosystem (see sidebar), including: • Third-party authentication that uses drivers' licenses and state motor vehicle departments for authentication. • Commercial, open-source ID verifica- tion that allows multiple relying parties to verify a user's identity. • Multi-factor mobile authentication that uses varying levels of trust from PINs to geo-location. • Data encryption with broker verification that enables access to personally identifi- able information. • Attributes for authentication that estab- lish an infrastructure for preserving privacy. "They are focused less on developing new technologies than on taking leading edge technologies and getting them into the hands of the public," he said. Grant said three to four additional rounds of pilot funding are anticipated, depending on budgets for the coming years. At that point the program office expects to begin winding down. "We have actually planned for our own de- mise," he said. • GCN JANUARY 2013 • GCN.COM 17 5 PROJECTS TEST LINKS OF NEW ID ECOSYSTEM Project Goal: Third-party ID verification Project Manager: American Asso- ciation of Motor Vehicle Adminis- trators Grant: $1,621,803 Pilots for trusted identities range from first-responder authentica- tion and secure business transac- tions to the exchange of health care information.