In May 2009, the President’s Cyberspace Policy Review called for the development of “a cybersecurity-based identity management vision and strategy that addresses privacy and civil liberties interests, leveraging privacy-enhancing technologies for the Nation.”

That “vision and strategy” came to fruition in the form of the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” (NSTIC), which calls for an “Identity Ecosystem” that would be “an online environment where individuals and organizations will be able to trust each other because they follow agreed upon standards to obtain and authenticate their digital identities.”

Online anonymity has fueled fraud to the point where billions of dollars are lost every year. As people become less trusting of the Internet, many are pulling back. Methods of authentication that rely on usernames and passwords are broken and ineffective. Viruses infect personal and business PCs and allow criminals to remotely control the infected devices and access sensitive data and accounts.

We need a system that doesn’t grant access based solely on a password. Establishing trusted identities will provide enhanced security, improved privacy, and economic benefits. Ultimately, this system will enable new types of secure transactions, offer more control of personal information, and thwart cybercrime and identity theft.

President Obama explained the thinking behind the White House’s strategy:

“Giving consumers choices for solving these kinds of problems is at the heart of this new strategy. And it is one that relies not on government, but on the private sector, to design the technologies and tools that will help make our identities more secure in cyberspace and to make those tools available to consumers who want them. It asks companies to pursue these solutions in ways that will not impinge on the vitality and dynamism of the web, or force anyone to give up the anonymity they enjoy on the Internet.”

Want more information? You can also hear from Michael Garcia, Cybersecurity Strategist for the Department of Homeland Security on the NSTIC program and its many benefits.

Sounds like a good plan to me. Sign me up!

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto. Disclosures

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