Mnuchin: Commercial sector should solve digital ID

The federal government can help the private sector develop secure identity technologies, but it shouldn't pick tech winners and losers, according to the Treasury secretary.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

Even though the federal government is a big user of secure identity technology and a major target for online fraud, it shouldn't develop solutions to protect an increasingly complex worldwide financial ecosystem, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He wants government to continue partnering with industry to come up with answers.

"The federal government is tech neutral," Mnuchin said in remarks at the Sept. 14 AFCEA ID Forum in Washington, D.C.

Mnuchin pointed to government efforts like the National Institute of Standards and Technologies' National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which funds pilot projects by commercial companies and researchers to develop secure identity solutions.

"We’ve seen great innovations through public-private partnerships like the emergence of FIDO authentication -- where major firms in IT, software, device manufacturers, banking, health care and security have partnered with government -- NIST in particular -- to deliver on this vision," Mnuchin said. He's referring here to the FIDO Alliance, a private-sector consortium of companies across tech and finance that collaborate on digital authentication standards.

Even so, Mnuchin acknowledged that federal, state and local governments have a big stake in effective ID protection. Federal IT systems have become the most lucrative targets for cybercriminals.

"Trustworthy identity products and services are essential to protect the financial system from abuse," he said.  "Fraud is the No. 1 source of illicit finance in the United States. Fraud against the U.S. government generates more proceeds than any other form of fraud. Identity theft is often the means used to defraud the government" of entitlements and payments, such as taxpayer refunds, he said.

Mnuchin later emphasized that federal agencies also rely on secure identities to deal with the public.

"Government entities themselves are consumers of identity services," he said, "emphasizing the importance of effective identity systems for our own operations. Importantly, this includes government payment and access to citizen services."

However, Mnuchin said the federal government shouldn't aim for a single national ID because a centralized approach isn't safe.

"Whatever solution we develop for identification and authentication," he said, "must reflect the strong value we place on decentralization. In this country, we do not, nor should we, have a single national identity number."

The current system, according to Mnuchin, which relies on multiple forms of ID -- from state drivers' licenses and birth certificates, to city ID, library and school ID cards -- provides a more diverse universe of sources. "It's unwieldy at times, but it avoids a single point of failure," he said.

"There is resilience built into our system."

The federal government's primary role in developing effective, efficient ID technology solutions, he said, is to provide "regulatory clarity" that defines federal expectations from entities and individuals that will speed innovation in the private sector, he said. President Donald Trump's mandate to prune regulations is providing a clearer path for innovation, he said.

Mnuchin didn't mention the Login.gov effort at the 18F technology group at the General Services Administration. That's a government-led effort to develop a digital identifier for accessing citizen services across multiple agencies.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.