Earlier this month, the White House released its draft National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). This week, CDT submitted comments  as part of the public comment process on the National Strategy.
CDT has written about  the National Strategy before. We welcome the National Strategy to the conversation because it has the ability to motivate private digital ID technology efforts and ensure that they are compatible with those developed by the government.
The government will be one of the major consumers of identity, for example, for delivery of online services to citizens and the authentication of contractors and employees, so the government has a built-in interest in the success of online identity systems.
Identity technologies are often criticized  as disparate, and the "open pile" approach needs a central organization that can encourage innovation. The Federal government can have a positive effect on the field by setting standards and creating incentives for a diverse system.
A strong online identity system would make Internet transactions easier and more efficient. However, we can't have strong online identity without effective, robust, and representative governance of the system. The U.S. government can take on the somewhat limited – but crucial – role of encouraging developments and innovations that will create interoperable and strong identity online.
The NSTIC process is ongoing, and we know that there will be more discussion before the Strategy is implemented. The Strategy is a decent start, but more work remains to be done on developing an interoperable, privacy-protective and diverse online identity system.