Is Connect.gov dead?
Connect.gov was born out of the idea that citizens needed easy access to federal web sites and would want to use digital identities they already have – Google, Yahoo, Verizon and others.
The U.S. Post Office started the project in 2013. It awarded a contract to SecureKey to provide the underlying technology, the company that runs a similar program in Canada called Concierge that enables citizens to use their financial services credentials for access to government sites.
Pilots for agencies to start using Connect.gov were supposed to begin in 2015 but no information has been released. The GSA’s program manager for Connect.gov departed for the private sector late last year and no replacement had been announced.
While rumors have been swirling about the demise of Connect.gov, initiatives from the Obama administration have pointed the opposite direction. The Cybersecurity National Action Plan specially called out enabling multi-factor authentication and for GSA to lead the effort.
18F, a part of the GSA designed to help federal agencies make IT acquisitions, is now overseeing that part of Obama’s plan but the future of Connect.gov is unclear, according to a blog post from 18F.
The post says that the project will build off the work from Connect.gov, but doesn’t say exactly how it will do this. “To build this login platform, we’re using modern, user-friendly, strong authentication and effective identity proofing technology. This new platform will leverage the extensive lessons we’ve gained from agency efforts in the past, including lessons learned from our counterparts in the UK who built GOV.UK Verify.”
Verify in the UK does accept private sector credentials. But sources suggest that this new U.S. project might do away with that aspect, which was core to Connect.gov.
This post will be updated as more information is made available.