The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has issued a formal solicitation for “Privacy Preserving Digital Credential Wallets & Verifiers”.
The solicitation is being administered by S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), a program that connects DHS with startups and small businesses to develop cutting-edge security solutions. SVIP provides funding and support to companies that are developing innovative solutions that address the needs of DHS components and the various agencies involved in homeland security, and in its latest solicitation the agency says it will offer participating companies up to $1.7 million in non-dilutive funding over four phases of development.
The solicitation builds upon the success of SVIP’s previous ‘Preventing Forgery & Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses’ topic call, leveraging the adoption of open, standards-based digital credentialing solutions. A “topic call” is a request for proposals (RFP) that is used to communicate the government’s requirements, terms and conditions, and the evaluation factors they’ll use to award the contract.
S&T says it is essentially looking for two things: One is a digital wallet that can “support the broad range of credentials possible with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Verifiable Credential Data Model (VCDM) and W3C Decentralized Identifiers (DID) standards”; while the other is a software-based “Mobile Verifier” that would be compatible with Android and iOS devices.
The World Wide Web Consortium Verifiable Credential Data Model is a global standard for issuing, storing, presenting, verifying, and controlling digital credentials. It is based on a data model that enables interoperability, privacy, and user-centric identity across different systems and applications.
The W3C Decentralized Identifiers standards, meanwhile, are a set of specifications that define a new type of identifier that enables verifiable, decentralized digital identity. The W3C DID Working Group developed a specification for decentralized identifiers to standardize the core architecture, data model, and representation of DIDs. The W3C approved the DID 1.0 specification as a W3C Recommendation on July 19, 2022.
In announcing the new solicitation, both the managing director of SVIP, Melissa Oh, and the DHS’s Chief Privacy Officer, Mason Clutter, emphasized the importance of finding solutions that protect privacy, with Clutter describing the project as an “investment in the building blocks of a privacy protective digital credentialing system”.
“Preserving the privacy of individuals as they use digital wallets to store their credentials is deeply important in ensuring the secure, confidential nature of their digital interactions in an increasingly interconnected world,” explained Oh.
The deadline for applications is 3:00 p.m. ET on September 15, 2023.
June 27, 2023 – by The FindBiometrics Editorial Team