Trust, but let Google verify: Companies join government in identity authentication experiment

OpenID, Information Card announce Web 2.0 initiative with feds

The Obama administration is collaborating on a pilot program with Web 2.0 organizations and vendors to enable people to access multiple federal Web sites with greater transparency and more control over their personal information, the groups announced today.

The OpenID Foundation, the Information Card Foundation and the Obama administration's Open Government Initiative leaders developed the framework for the project. Federal agencies participating in the program include the Center for Information Technology, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Health and Human Services Department, according to a news release.

The participating vendors include Yahoo, PayPal, Google, Equifax, AOL, VeriSign, Acxiom, Citi, Privo and Wave Systems.

“We are pleased with the caliber of organizations who have signed on to be active participants in this initiative,” Judy Spencer, co-chair of the Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management Steering Committee, said in the release.

These companies will act as digital identity providers using OpenID Foundation and Information Card Foundation technologies, according to the release. The participating companies are being certified under open trust frameworks developed by the foundations and reviewed by the federal government. Users will be able, for example, to see content on agency sites using their Google or Yahoo log-in information.

The trust frameworks are programs that enable a Web site to trust the identity, security and privacy assurances of an identity provider. The OpenID and Information Card foundations have worked with federal agencies to meet the requirements of the federal Identity Credential and Access Management Trust Framework Adoption Process.

The pilot programs are intended to help people customize their experience on government Web sites without revealing personally identifiable information.

For example, NIH intends to use OpenID and Information Card to support services that include customized library searches, access to training resources, registration for conferences and using medical research wikis.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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