The US Commerce Department is reportedly preparing to assume authority over a nascent cybsecurity initiative that would create a unique Internet ID for American citizens and residents.
According to White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, the department is "the absolute perfect spot in the US government" to build an online "identity ecosystem."
However, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke insisted that the initiative would not result in the mandatory assignment of 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," said Locke.
"I don't have to get a credential if I don't want to. [There's no chance] that a centralized database will emerge... And we need the private sector to lead the implementation of this."Unsurprisingly, details about the "trusted identity" project are currentlly few and far between.
The original announcement described a "smart card" or "digital certificate" that would be deployed to authentic users during online financial transactions.