Is there an identity crisis in the United States? Panelists on an identity roundtable at CTST conference in New Orleans seem to think there is an the solution is issuing high-level assurance credentials to individuals for identification online.
Peter Alterman, deputy associate administrator for technology strategy at the office of government wide policy at the General Services Administration, said that in the next five years 150 to 200 million high-assurance credentials will be issued to U.S. citizens. It won’t be the government that issues these IDs but the framework the government has created has set the groundwork for the technology that will be deployed.
Alterman wouldn’t say which agency would issue the credentials or how it would be used, but he did say there are activities in store for the next year around health care, the IRS and Social Security Administration.
Neville Pattinson, vice president of government affairs and standards at Gemalto, is the panelists who posited the “identity crisis.”
“We’re going see more of an emphasize on communities of people demanding better means of identity as they move into the digital world,” Pattinson says.
Health care is the market where the identification industry needs to focus. There’s a great deal of concern about health care,” Pattinson says. “Money is heading in that direction and this may be the coattails we live off of to create an identity infrastructure.”
Doug Simmons, vice president of consulting at the Burton Group Consulting Services, says the U.S. government’s Personal Identity Verification specification has paved the way for commercial companies to deploy smart cards. “Enough people are getting fed up with the identity theft and saying enough is enough,” he says “We’re smart people and we need to put the policies in place to take care of it.”
One of the major issues with the high-assurance credentials is who will issue them. Alterman says the government can’t do it because it will seem like a national ID program. But Simmons says the states are in a perfect situation to issue the credentials.
Brett McDowell, executive director of the Liberty Alliance, says the market needs to come up with a solution so individuals will be able to get a credential if they want one.
Pattinson has concern about this idea though. Who is liable if someone gets a fake credential and does something malicious? Private companies won’t accept the liability.”