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US considers internet identity for its citizens

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Mon, Jan 10, 2011 12:00 hrs

London, Jan 10 (IANS) In its bid to boost web security in the US, the Barack Obama administration is working out a plan to issue American computer users with an internet identity, a media report said here Monday.

Obama has put the US Commerce Department in charge of the cybersecurity initiative, the Daily Mail reported.

The Obama administration is drafting a paper called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities, which investigates ways that web users can protect their online identities.

But Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said that it should not be mistaken as national identity card.

'We are not talking about a national ID card,' he said at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

'We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorise a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities,' he added.

He said the Commerce Department is setting up a national programme to work on the project.

Possible methods of creating a 'trusted identity' could include issuing a 'smart card' or digital certificates that would prove that online users are who they say they are. They could then be used to buy goods and carry out financial transactions on the internet, the report said.

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said the move does not mean that anonymity will be compromised.

'I don't have to get a credential if I don't want to,' he said.

There's no chance that 'a centralised database will emerge', and 'we need the private sector to lead the implementation of this', he added, according to CNET website.




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