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Obama administration moves forward with unique internet ID for Americans, Commerce Department to head system up

Laura June
01.09.11
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President Obama has signaled that he will give the United States Commerce Department the authority over a proposed national cybersecurity measure that would involve giving each American a unique online identity. Other candidates mentioned previously to head up the new system have included the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security, but the announcement that the Commerce Department will take the job should please groups that have raised concerns over security agencies doing double duty in police and intelligence work. So anyway, what about this unique ID we'll all be getting? Well, though details are still pretty scant, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, speaking at an event at the Stanford Institute, stressed that the new system would not be akin to a national ID card, or a government controlled system, but that it would enhance security and reduce the need for people to memorize dozens of passwords online. Sorry, Locke, sounds like a national ID system to us. Anyway, the Obama administration is currently drafting what it's dubbed the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which is expected at the Department of Commerce in a few months. We'll keep you posted if anything terrifying or cool happens.

Update: For clarity's sake, we should note that the proposed unique ID system will be opt in only, not a mandatory program for all citizens.

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