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Administration Launches National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace

Panelists (Photo: Peter Cutts Photography)

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was joined today at by Chair of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard A. Schmidt to release the administration’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) – a White House initiative to improve online security, increase privacy and foster economic growth and innovation online. Hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the event included a panel discussion with industry leaders and privacy advocates, as well as demonstrations of innovative smart technologies being developed to improve online authentication. 

NSTIC is a key building block in the national effort to secure cyberspace. According to industry surveys, as many as eight million Americans are victims of online fraud and identity theft each year and lose an average of $631 out-of-pocket per incident. Through a private sector-led effort facilitated by the government, NSTIC aims to make online transactions more trustworthy and enhance consumers’ privacy, thereby giving businesses and consumers more confidence to conduct business online.  The webcast will be available on-demand at a later date.  |  White House press release and fact sheet

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"Voluntary" initiative becomes mandatory?

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What guarantee do U.S. citizens and taxpayers have that this initiative -- which we're told is "voluntary" -- will not become mandatory when dealing with IRS e-filing, SS/VA/military benefits, renewing passports online, applying for federal licenses (including ham radio/pilot licenses), etc. There are efficiency benefits to the government in doing this, it's true, but what about the costs to American citizens?


Voluntary is one of the four guiding principles

If you read the official strategy (, you'll see that on page 11, the guiding principles are discussed. The first one is "Identity Solutions will be Privacy-Enhancing and Voluntary." The voluntary nature of this strategy is built into the DNA of the program.

Why put the burden on citizens?

Why are we always putting the burden on citizens to make up for the slack and irresponsible business practices of companies hawking their wares in cyberspace. If the federal government imposed a fine of, let's say, $10million per identity for disclosing customers private information, the problem would disappear overnight. But of course, the government has no interest whatsoever in PROTECTING citizens. They want to leverage the problem in order to CONTROL citizens. SURE, the new identity scheme will be VOLUNTARY, the way that obtaining a drivers license or a social security number are voluntary. Wake up America, this is another attempt to create a government ID card to track you with. Sorry comrade, your internet privileges have been revoked because you visited a website that disagrees with government policies....


NSTIC encourages private-sector development of innovative technology solutions that will protect consumers' privacy and security when conducting online transactions, so they can be more confident online.

More than 8 million Americans are victims of identity theft and online fraud every year, costing them time and money. The federal government is bringing innovators, industry and consumer advocates together to create standards so that the marketplace can create more innovative ways to improve security for consumers and businesses who want more privacy and peace of mind.

Consumers who opt to obtain one or more trusted identity credentials would only use them when they choose. They would still be able to surf the Internet anonymously or use a pseudonym. Privacy is critical to free speech and a number of privacy and consumer advocates are actively engaged in the NSTIC process.

We encourage anyone concerned about NSTIC to read the full document here:

Or go to our website to take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions