EPIC-White House Releases Plans for Internet Identities

April 22, 2011
Published by the
               Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
                           Washington, D.C.

The White House has published the National Strategy for Trusted

Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), which provides guidance for an
Internet identity system. The plan comes nearly two years after the
White House first released its Cyberspace Policy Review, which set forth
a national plan for Internet identities.

In 2010, the White House released the draft NSTIC, and accepted public
comments via an online forum. The Draft was developed with significant
contributions from the Department of Homeland Security. EPIC responded
with comments that emphasized the need for strong privacy safeguards for
Internet users. “The President endorsed ‘Privacy Enhancing Technologies’
for online credentials. That is historic,” said EPIC Executive Director
Marc Rotenberg today, “but online identity is complex problem and the
risk of ‘cyber-identity theft’ with consolidated identity systems is
very real. The U.S. will need to do more to protect online privacy.”

The Strategy is being deployed as public-private partnership, with the
Federal Government leaving the majority of research and development to
the private sector. The NSTIC document set out four goals that are
necessary to meet in the implementation of the program: development of a
comprehensive Identity Ecosystem Framework; Construction of
interoperable identity solutions; enhancement of confidence and
willingness to participate in the identity ecosystem; and assurance of
the long-term success and viability of the program.

The first phase of the Strategy is meant to be completed in the next
three to five years, and will entail the development of a growing
marketplace of identity providers with a number of attribute providers
and enrolled identities taking advantage of the Strategy’s benefits. By
2021, the Strategy is supposed to be self-sustaining.

Several elements of the NSTIC proposal reflect work undertaken by EPIC
over the past decade. For example, in 2001 EPIC, members of the EPIC
Advisory Board, and a coalition of consumer and privacy organizations
filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that urged an
investigation of the Microsoft plan for a single Internet identity
system called “Passport.” EPIC and the groups recommended the
development of “techniques for anonymity and pseudo-anonymity” so that
users could access the Internet “without disclosing their actual

In 2002, the Microsoft Corporation agreed to settle Federal Trade
Commission charges regarding the privacy and security of personal
information collected from consumers through the “Passport” web
services. As part of the settlement, Microsoft agreed to a comprehensive
information security program for Passport and similar services.
Microsoft subsequently developed a less centralized approach to online
credentials, that allowed for a variety of options for user

The FTC has recently concluded an investigation in another matter
sparked by an EPIC complaint concerning Google and Privacy. Google has
agreed to establish a Comprehensive Privacy Program for all of its
products and services. 

White House: National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace
Department of Homeland Security: Draft NSTIC

EPIC: Creating Options for Enhanced Online Security & Privacy 

White House: Cyberspace Policy Review
EPIC: National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace
EPIC:  Microsoft Passport Investigation Docket

FTC: Microsoft Settles FTC Charges Alleging False Security and Privacy Promises

EPIC: In re Google Buzz

FTC: Press Release (Google Buzz)

EPIC: Fix Google Privacy


One response to “EPIC-White House Releases Plans for Internet Identities

  1. Pingback: EPIC-White House Releases Plans for Internet Identities | don't tread on cat

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