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US Government Begins Rollout Of Its ‘Driver’s License For The Internet’

Tech Dirt – by Tim Cushing

An idea the government has been kicking around since 2011 is finally making its debut. Calling this move ill-timed would be the most gracious way of putting it.

A few years back, the White House had a brilliant idea: Why not create a single, secure online ID that Americans could use to verify their identity across multiple websites, starting with local government services. The New York Times described it at the time as a “driver’s license for the internet.”

Sound convenient? It is. Sound scary? It is.

Next month, a pilot program of the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” will begin in government agencies in two US states, to test out whether the pros of a federally verified cyber ID outweigh the cons.

The NSTIC program has been in (slow) motion for nearly three years, but now, at a time when the public’s trust in government is at an all time low, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST — itself still reeling a bit from NSA-related blowback) is testing the program in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The first tests appear to be exclusively aimed at accessing public programs, like government assistance. The government believes this ID system will help reduce fraud and overhead, by eliminating duplicated ID efforts across multiple agencies. 

But the program isn’t strictly limited to government use. The ultimate goal is a replacement of many logins and passwords people maintain to access content and participate in comment threads and forums. This “solution,” while somewhat practical, also raises considerable privacy concerns.

[T]he Electronic Frontier Foundation immediately pointed out the red flags, arguing that the right to anonymous speech in the digital realm is protected under the First Amendment. It called the program “radical,” “concerning,” and pointed out that the plan “makes scant mention of the unprecedented threat such a scheme would pose to privacy and free speech online.”

And the keepers of the identity credentials wouldn’t be the government itself, but a third party organization. When the program was introduced in 2011, banks, technology companies or cellphone service providers were suggested for the role, so theoretically Google or Verizon could have access to a comprehensive profile of who you are that’s shared with every site you visit, as mandated by the government.

Beyond the privacy issues (and the hints of government being unduly interested in your online activities), there are the security issues. This collected information would be housed centrally, possibly by corporate third parties. When hackers can find a wealth of information at one location, it presents a very enticing target. The government’s track record on protecting confidential information is hardly encouraging. 

The problem is, ultimately, that this is the government rolling this out. Unlike corporations, citizens won’t be allowed the luxury of opting out. This “internet driver’s license” may be the only option the public has to do things like renew actual driver’s licenses or file taxes or complete paperwork that keeps them on the right side of federal law. Whether or not you believe the government’s assurances that it will keep your data safe from hackers, keep it out of the hands of law enforcement (without a warrant), or simply not look at it just because it’s there, matters very little. If the government decides the positives outweigh the negatives, you’ll have no choice but to participate. 

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140503/04264427106/us-government-begins-rollout-its-drivers-license-internet.shtml

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27 Responses to US Government Begins Rollout Of Its ‘Driver’s License For The Internet’

  1. knowledgeispower says:

    I’m done with the internet when this bullshit rolls out.

    • Cathleen says:

      I was JUST gonna say that! Instead, I’ll just get one of those radios that picks up ham radio, short wave, as well as AM/FM … if there is such a thing.
      . . .

      • Jolly Roger says:

        yes — I’m going to make the move to Ham radio too. It’s one of my many pending projects here.

        The internet is becoming just another TV channel, and if you can’t even talk freely here, I have no use for it.

        • Hi, Jolly. The man who is responsible for waking my husband and I up has been on a Ham radio for years.

          He does not even own a computer, and is the most knowledgable person I know personally regarding the truth of what is going on all around the world.

          So, yes, looks like that will be the only alternative we will have to stay abreast of the “real” news.

          We knew it would eventually come to this.

    • Kulafarmer says:

      Ditto,,,
      not only when that rolls out but when they link it to electronic banking, where there is NO currency other than electronic,,
      Im convinced that is part of the reason why they are screwing around with the dollar and other currencies so much, to crash it and force an electronic currency for all transactions,,

  2. Jolly Roger says:

    “If the government decides the positives outweigh the negatives, you’ll have no choice but to participate.”

    Bye-bye, internet. You should already know that whatever “tests” they’re doing in Pennsylvania and Michigan will be cheered as a rousing success, and it will be enacted nationwide. What they’re actually going to do in those states is work out the bugs in their system before rolling it out nationwide, but you can bet that it’s coming.

    They simply can’t allow people to express themselves anymore, because too many people are angry, and that upsets their illusion of a happy America with a recovering economy.

    I don’t think boycotts will help this problem because they don’t care how many businesses they crush in this country. Control is their first priority, and they’re losing it.

    Now let’s think back to Edward Snowden, and his dissent-silencing claims that they know everything and can hear everybody. If that were the case, there would be absolutely no need for this new I.D. program.

  3. NC says:

    The Communist bastards will force this on us, whether we like it or not. Of course they’re all prepared and ready to say that the positives outweigh the negatives, even if there is only ONE thing positive about it vs. the 2000 negative things about it. That’s how Communists roll, just like their infamous “Pilot” programs. “Let’s just try it out and see how it goes even though NO ONE wants it. Let’s just talk about it. Let’s just push it through.” and finally, “We’ve decided we are going to go ahead and do it permanently”. Just like my days teaching in Communist China.

    It is every man’s duty to abolish and destroy this thing before it starts, just like Obamacare. We must not give in or this “Mark of the Beast” card is going to destroy us all.

    Both the government and corporations will have your IDs and there won’t be anything to stop them from officially going into your online account, emails and so on (not like they aren’t doing that illegally right now as it is) THEY WILL OWN YOU!

    Not even China has this, people. Stop submitting to this shit and WAKE UP!

  4. Inretrospect says:

    TPTB would have a hard time eliminating the Internet, so they opted to have password access which will remove a person’s ability to remain anonymous.

    This will not impact your ability to post on FTTWR, but it will definitely bring down the wrath on anything posted that can be defined as “domestic terrorism” or “hate speech”. The NSA already has the ability to covertly track anyone on the Internet, but password access will enable them to track and prosecute people speaking their mind (aka: speaking the truth and/or questioning the unconstitutional actions of the State/Federal authorities).

    This way, the Internet can be maintained and open to the public; however, just like the Utility Smart Meters — your individual access/service can be disconnected with the flip of a switch.

  5. NC says:

    “When hackers can find a wealth of information at one location, it presents a very enticing target.”

    That alone says it all. What kind of IDIOT would want to put all of their eggs in one basket to make it easier for hackers to grab? I mean the logic is beyond insane!

    • Kulafarmer says:

      another good reason to NOT have any eggs in any basket that anyone can see!
      Only eggs I gots are them chicken eggs I collected this morning!

  6. Mark Schumacher - NV says:

    Good bye internet. I’ll be long gone. Hello ham radio.

  7. a guest says:

    dont worry,
    there will just be the “INTERnet” for government, fox, cnn, netflix and google,twittler etc in the u.s..

    and the “OUTERnet” for free thinking people around the planet.

    they cant MAKE a website owner put i.d. checking/logging code into the website.

    • NC says:

      Seriously? You don’t know these Communists very well, do you? They won’t stop until they’re dead. They’ll manipulate and twist everything in their favor unless We the people put an end to them.

  8. # 1 NWO Hatr says:

    “The NSTIC program has been in (slow) motion for nearly three years, but now, at a time when the public’s trust in government is at an all time low, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST — itself still reeling a bit from NSA-related blowback) is testing the program in Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

    Desperation breeds new ‘programs’.

    Obviously, we’re kicking their @sses in the information war.

  9. Josey Wales says:

    This is my response to bummer man’s Internet Kontrol scheme. BS! What will happen is the creation of Inet2, Inet 3, 4, 5, and happy guerrilla cyber net warriors will be doing their own thing and thumbing their noses at fedgov.

    You just watch Ecommerce fall drastically, and users gravitate to alternatives. Socialist Kontrollers just can’t stand it when they cannot kontrol something. Bastards!

    Josey Wales.

  10. Nottoobitter says:

    IN the idea of HAMM a internet peer to peer network will surely come. With HAMM radio now you cans send data. In fact that may be the majority of “traffic” over the civilian bands. Not just talking.

    Remember it is not so much that they ‘get you’ by making you have the password and ending anonymity on the web. It s all about getting you to sign the contract where they trick you into allowing them full access to do whet ever, when ever, they want. Like a drivers license. It has nothing to do with ensuring a smooth and efficient experience. It has to do with expanding their jurisdiction with your mindless consent on a contract.

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