Internet-based transactions such as online banking and retail sales account for an increasing percentage of business activities considered vital to the health of the national economy, yet many consumers indicate they are still reluctant to engage in these activities due to concerns over security.
In response to those concerns, the U.S. government recently allocated $9 million in grants to support the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), an effort designed to increase consumer confidence in conducting online transactions and further protect against fraud and identity theft.
Providing better security for Internet transactions and instilling trust in the mechanisms available for online business operations has been central to cybersecurity issues identified in the Obama administration's 2009 Cyberspace Policy Review. The initial framework for the NSTIC was subsequently proposed in 2010 as a result of that review.
“Increasing confidence in online transactions fosters innovation and economic growth. These investments in the development of identity solutions will help protect our citizens from identity theft and other types of fraud, while helping our businesses, especially small businesses, reduce their costs,” said National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Patrick Gallagher.
The grants will fund five pilot programs from private organizations and will be administered by the NIST, a non-regulatory division of the Commerce Department which seeks to promote effective standards in technology that enhance quality and security.
The strategy seeks to promote the establishment of a secure “Identity Ecosystem” on the Internet where "technologies, policies and consensus-based standards support greater trust and security when individuals, businesses and other organizations conduct sensitive transactions online," according to the NIST website.
The pilot programs will address identity management concerns in sectors across the board including those for retail sales, financial service, healthcare, education, and government.
“These five pilots take the vision and principles embodied in the NSTIC and translate them directly into solutions that will be deployed into the marketplace. By clearly aligning with core NSTIC guiding principles and directly addressing known barriers to the adoption of the Identity Ecosystem, the pilot projects will both promote innovation in online identity management and inform the important work of the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group,” said senior executive advisor for identity management and head of the NSTIC National Program Office Jeremy Grant.
More information on the NSTIC initiative can be found on the program's page at the NIST website here.
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