BusinessWeek and other media outlets are reporting that the Obama administration is planning a new office in the Department of Commerce to oversee the government's implementation of what White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt is calling a national online "trusted identity" ecosystem, based on a draft proposal, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). published last June, but it remains unclear what that ecosystem will look like, and how it will function.
speaking at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke explained "We are not talking about a national ID card..... We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities."
Schmidt added that such a system would still allow users to maintain anonymity and protect their privacy when surfing the Web. "I don't have to get a credential if I don't want to," Schmidt said, stressing that there are no plans to put together "a centralized database" of user information.
Further details are expected to be available in the next few months.