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Yesterday CBS News reported about plans of the Obama administration to introduce an internet identity system. The author of the article speculates about the possible implementation but comes to the conclusion that details about the “trusted identity” project are remarkably scarce.
Today the always investigative Silicon Alley Insider is also quoting the CBS News article and only adds one fine sentence Details scant, but you can bet this is going to freak people out. In the comments tech reporter extraordinaire, Henry Blodget, chimes in with an even more eloquent comment.
Curt Hopkins of ReadWriteWeb, who usually writes good articles, is referring to a CNET article about the topic. Well, it’s actually the same article as the CBS News one. Hopkins can only speculate as well.
It’s disappointing that no one did any research on how the implementation will actually work. Well, I answered a question on the topic on Quora last night, quoting it here in full length:
As far as I understand it, it is not as bad as it sounds. Though, the CBS article is not really helpful.
Basically, this “Internet ID” means that US citizens can use existing online identities to engage with government agencies. Those identities are, e.g. OpenIDs and Information Cards. Both the OpenID Foundation (OIDF) and the Information Card Foundation founded Open Identity Exchange (http://openidentityexchange.org/) to certify providers last year. Certified providers are Google, PayPal, VeriSign, and Equifax so far (http://openidentityexchange.org/certified-providers). Another certifying instance is the Kantara Initiative (http://kantarainitiative.org/); see also http://www.idmanagement.gov/drilldown.cfm?action=openID_openGOV
Regarding the Stanford event, you might also want to check out the OIDF statement (http://openid.net/2011/01/08/internet-identity-system-said-readied-by-obama/).
So, the US government does not control those identities.
Hopefully, I got things right.
Kaliya Hamlin also just published an excellent article about the topic.