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GCN : May 2014
CASE STUDY AUTHENTICATION TACTICS Establishing the iden- tity of online users is a thorny issue for the electronic delivery of govern- ment services. A thorough identity proofing ensures the right person receives services, but can be burdensome to both the citizen and the state, while more user-friendly techniques to encourage cost-efficient on- line access can open programs up to fraud. To help solve this problem, the National Institute of Stan- dards and Technology has awarded $2.4 million to Michi- gan and Pennsylvania to test innovative tools and techniques for identity proofing and to en- able use of secure credentials across departmental boundar- ies. Michigan received $1.3 mil- lion to pilot an automated system for validating identity to replace in-person identity proofing for those applying for benefits through the state s MI Bridges portal. "That has been quite expensive for the state to run and quite burdensome for the applicant," said Jeremy Grant, NIST s senior executive advisor for identity manage- ment. "They are piloting ways to do remote identity proofing." Pennsylvania s program is more complex, Grant said. It is using a $1.1 million grant to develop an ID infrastructure for multiple state departments, combining both automated identity proofing with feder- ated use of credentials so that the same token can be accepted for multiple programs without duplicating effort and personal data across departments. The pilots are focusing on ef- fective implementation of ex- isting technology rather than on breaking new technologi- cal ground, Grant said. "Most of what they are looking at are commercial software and ser- vices," he said. But there is a difference be- tween a technology being avail- able in the marketplace and being widely used. The pilots will help to determine the effec- tiveness of these tools with an eye toward getting them widely adopted. A lot of states have an interest in the success of such programs and are watching the pilots closely to see how they pan out, Grant said. To evaluate the programs, NIST has awarded a $300,000 grant RTI International to con- duct cost-benefit analyses and assess their impact. The grants, announced last fall, were made through the Michigan and Pennsylvania are testing di erent approaches to automated federated use of secure credentials for online access to government services States double-team ID management challenge BY WILLIAM JACKSON 24 GCN MAY 2014 • GCN.COM A thorough identity proofing can be burdensome to both the citizen and the state, while more user-friendly techniques that encourage cost-efficient online access can open programs up to fraud.