Yahoo, AOL and Google are among 10 companies that are working with the government to push support for OpenID and Information Card technologies for members of the public using government Websites.
Ten companies ranging from
Yahoo to PayPal to Google are supporting plans to support pilot programs
aimed at enabling users to log in to government Websites using OpenID and
Information Card technologies.
is meant to fit into President Obama's memorandum to make it easy for
individuals to register and participate in government Websites without having
to create new usernames and passwords. Members of the public will be able to
fully control how much or how little personal information they share with the
government at all times.
Besides Yahoo, PayPal and
Google, other companies participating in the programs include Equifax, AOL, VeriSign, Acxiom, Citi, Privo and
Wave Systems. The pilot programs themselves are being conducted by the Center
for Information Technology, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, and related agencies.
The initiative paves the
way for individuals to use services such as blogs, surveys and social networks
and customize their experience on government Websites without revealing any
personal identifiable information such as passwords. In the coming months, NIH
officials plan to use OpenID and Information Cards to support a number of
services, including customized library searches, access to training resources,
registration for conferences and use of medical research wikis, all with strong
Each of the participating
companies is being certified under nondiscriminatory open trust frameworks
developed in collaboration between the OpenID Foundation and the Information
Card Foundation and reviewed by the federal government.
"It's also good to see
government working with experts from the private sector and especially with the
Information Card Foundation and the OpenID Foundation because identity is not a
technical phenomenon-it's a social phenomenon," said Bob Blakley, an analyst
with the Burton Group, in a statement. "Technological support for identity
requires the participation of a broad community and of representatives of government
who define the legal framework within which identity will operate. Today's
announcement supplies the most important missing ingredient of the open
identity infrastructure, mainly the trust framework. Without a trust framework
it's impossible to know whether a received identity is reliable."
interview with eWEEK, VeriSign Director of Innovation Gary Krall said that the
primary drivers for this initial phase of the initiative are trust and privacy.
in the form of certifying the [identity providers] in terms of how they manage
user information, and privacy in the form of allowing users to remain anonymous
on those sites which allow that and ensuring that their privacy is non-correlatable,"
"Security in our case is how we protect the VeriSign
Personal Identity Portal [PIP] user's account from unwanted access," he said.
"By combining VeriSign's two-factor authentication services, whether in the
form of a one-time password or in the form of a certificate, we add a layer of
protection to users who use our service when they access the [government] Websites
that will be participating in the initial pilot of the service."