A look at the White House's National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.
There are two key points about this Strategy: First, this is NOT a government-mandated, national ID program; in fact, it's not an identity "program" at all. Second, this is a call by the Administration to the private sector to step up, take leadership of this effort and provide the innovation to implement a privacy-enhancing, trusted system.
In 1993, Peter Steiner famously wrote in the New Yorker that "on the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." In 2011, trillions of dollars in e-commerce transactions and a growing number of other interactions have made knowing that someone is not only human, but a particular individual, increasingly important.