A new bipartisan bill introduced in the House this week looks to create an interagency task force consisting of local, state, and federal officials to come up with a comprehensive and standards-based approach to digital identity verification across public and private sectors.
The Improving Digital Identity Act of 2020 (IDIA) — introduced by Reps. Bill Foster, D-Ill., John Katko, R-NY, Jim Langevin, D-RI, and Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. — would serve to aid the U.S. government’s efforts to improve the country’s digital identity ecosystem and carve a path forward to a safer way for citizens to authenticate their identity when online.
“Whether logging into an email account or checking test results from a doctor, people rely on their digital identities every day. Yet even as the range of online services continues to expand, the most authoritative form of ID remains the decidedly analog driver’s license,” said representative Langevin in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic and our increased reliance on the internet to accomplish everyday tasks has made it abundantly clear that we should build out our digital identity infrastructure,” he added.
The problem of identity theft has been on the rise in recent years, and has been made a particularly important focus for the digital security industry in recent months as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in the number of online transactions due to the rise in remote work and services.
The bill’s sponsors are looking to address this issue through this legislation, pointing out that identity fraud has cost the U.S. more than $16 billion in 2019 alone.
A general consensus exists in the security industry that outdated pen, paper, and plastic-based credentialing systems are a vulnerability point, and changes need to be made that work in concert with the increased need for online and remote authentication.
A major way the IDIA would would move to combat identity theft is by launching a task force made up of officials from state and local governments and agencies including the departments of Education, Treasury and State, and the General Services Administration.
Among this task force’s responsibilities would be to put together a standards-based framework for others to follow when providing digital ID verification services. Additionally, the bill would see the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) work with the group and others to draft a comprehensive set of guidelines for state, local, and federal agencies that would be updated and evolve over time.
Finally, under the bill Homeland Security would issue grants to states that wish to update any systems they use to provide digital credentials, and for the advancement of any new verification technologies.
September 16, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis