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Blog Category: Cybersecurity

National Identity Strategy Envisions a More Trustworthy Internet

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Leslie Harris, President and CEO of CDT, testifying before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection on the need for a baseline consumer privacy bill.

Guest blog post by Leslie Harris, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology.

Today the Administration released an ambitious, long-term strategy document called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). The Strategy puts forth a vision where individuals can choose to use a smaller number of secure, privacy-preserving, and convenient online identities. This would be a shift away from today’s norm of numerous usernames, passwords, and online accounts scattered across the Web.

Importantly, the Administration has turned to the private sector to make this vision a reality. The Strategy is not a national ID program—in fact, it’s not an ID “program” at all. It is a call for leadership and innovation from private companies. The government’s role must now be to advocate for its citizens and to support the development of a fair and useful system.

Why should the American people care about a “strategy” for Internet identity?

First, a growing number of our Internet transactions require an identity. We’re continually prompted to create new accounts to participate in online social networking, shopping, banking, and forums. Most of us have no idea how our identifying information will be used or shared. It certainly doesn’t help that we have to offer a fresh set of information to every new service that comes along. Without a new approach, this trend will continue. We deserve better control over our identity and stronger assurances that it will not be misused. Innovation isn’t slowing down; we have to catch up.

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

Secretary Locke, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt to Discuss Next Steps in Cybersecurity

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard A. Schmidt are in Stanford, Calif., today at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research to discuss the Obama administration’s efforts to enhance online security and privacy and next steps in meeting the challenges of a growing cyber world, with local industry and academic leaders in Silicon Valley.

The public and private sectors have critical roles to play in creating a system that allows people to complete online transactions with greater confidence that their personal information is safe. Through its forthcoming National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), the administration aims to support private-sector cybersecurity innovations by focusing on establishing identity solutions and privacy-enhancing technologies that will make the online environment more secure and convenient for users and consumers. E-commerce worldwide is estimated at $10 trillion of business online annually.  Release | Remarks  |  Video  |  FAQ

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Secretary Locke Announces Initiative to Keep Internet Open for Innovation and Trade at Cybersecurity Forum

Secretary Locke speaking at cybersecurity forum in GeorgetownSpeaking today at the 5th annual Online Trust and Cybersecurity Forum at Georgetown Univeristy, Secretary Locke announced the official launch of an initiative aimed at preserving the global, free flow of information online to ensure that the Internet remains open for commercial opportunity and innovation. This initiative coincides with President Obama's message today in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly in which he reinforced America's commitment to "a free and open Internet."

The Commerce Department is seeking public comment on the extent to which evolving policies from governments around the world may be restricting information on the Internet and inhibiting innovation and economic growth for U.S. companies. The request will seek input from all stakeholders to better understand the types of emerging government policies that restrict online information, how they are adopted, and what impact they have on innovation, job creation, economic development, global trade and investment.


Secretary Locke Announces NIST to Lead National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education

Locke at podium.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today at the Business Software Alliance Cybersecurity Forum that the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the Obama administration’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). This initiative expands the government’s cyber security education efforts into a national focus that will establish an operational, sustainable and continually-improving cyber security education program for the public and private sectors focused on sound cyber practices. (More) (Remarks)

NIST Releases Final Version of New Cybersecurity Recommendations for Government

NIST logo.

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its final version of a publication which represents a major step toward building a unified information security framework for the entire federal government. Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations was released in draft form for public review in June. “The aim is to provide greater protection for federal information systems against cyber attacks,” said Ron Ross, of NIST’s computer security division. (More)

NIST, DOD, Intelligence Agencies Join Forces to Secure U.S. Cyber Infrastructure

Image of computer keyboard keys.

Photo: Shutterstock

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), the Intelligence Community (IC), and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS), has released the first installment of a three-year effort to build a unified information security framework for the entire federal government. Historically, information systems at civilian agencies have operated under different security controls than military and intelligence information systems. This ongoing effort is consistent with President Obama’s call for “integrating all cybersecurity policies for the government” in his May 29 speech on securing the U.S. cybersecurity infrastructure. (More)