MSNBC's Herb "Consumer Man" Weisbaum recently sat down with the White House's Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt for a Q&A session regarding the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NS-TIC). Schmidt's answers help to fill in the details of the NS-TIC, as well as give some insight into future plans for the Strategy. Thus, a few of the questions and answers are provided below.
When asked "[w]ho [between the private sector and the Commerce Department] does the heavy lifting," Schmidt responded:
"The private sector will lead the building of multiple ways that people can identify themselves depending on their interactions online, and to also make sure these trusted identities are indeed privacy-enhancing as well as helping businesses to be more successful."
"Consumer Man" asked if Schmidt had any initial ideas as to how the plan will operate. Schmidt responded:
"We do have some thoughts. Say for example, if I regularly do business with a particular bank. The bank can then give me some sort of device. Let's say . . . it's an application I can put on my mobile device. Instead of using a credit card number every time I do a transaction or a password every time I do something, I have a one-time password or PIN number . . . that's generated locally on my mobile device. So I'm not putting all this personally identifying information on the Internet. A third-party verifier - not the government by the way - can effectively complete the transaction with the business to make sure that they get the ability to sell what they want to sell me, but I also get the benefit of insuring that the business is valid. That's one easy example of a way to do trusted identities. . . . This is not an attempt to create any sort of national identity card. It’s quite the opposite. It’s a matter of letting the private sector, through the normal course of doing business, give people choices, including multiple choices. If I want an identity to deal with my bank, that is something that requires a higher level of validation. But if I want nothing at all, so I can blog about things on the Internet, I also have the ability to do that."
When asked if he expects positive feedback from businesses, and if he has already, what the tone of such feedback was, Schmidt answered:
"We’ve had tremendous response and it’s very, very positive. We’ve had privacy and civil liberties organizations that have taken a look at this. And while we’ve not released the final strategy yet, we’ve been engaging with all of these key groups to make sure they understand the principles we’re operating by. We’ve had tremendous support for that. We’re also working with key lawmakers to make sure Congress has full visibility of the way we’re doing this. And the bottom line is: The more we get positive feedback, the easier it is to have the private sector lead the way on this."
All of this enlightening Q&A with White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, can be found at the link provided above, or here.