On September 17th, 2011, Natasha Singer wrote for the New York Times about the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). Comparing NSTIC to a digital driver's license, Singer explained how NSTIC would make it so people have a simpler, safer way to prove who they are online with more than a flimsy password. To do so, consumers would choose among trusted third parties — such as banks, technology companies or cellphone service providers — that verify certain personal information about them and issue them secure credentials to use in online transactions. The system would allow Internet users to use the same secure credential on many Web sites; people could have their identity authenticator automatically confirm that they are old enough to sign up for Pandora without having to share their birthdate with Pandora.
However, authentication proponents and privacy advocates disagree about whether Internet IDs like NSTIC would actually heighten consumer protection. Privacy advocates argue that identity verification online could make consumers more vulnerable because authentication companies would become "honey pots for hackers." Lillie Coney, the associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, noted that “You can have one key that opens every lock for everything you might need online in your daily life, or, would you rather have a key ring that would allow you to open some things but not others?”
However, Jeremy Grant (senior executive adviser for identity management at the National Institute of Standards and Technology) noted that no system is invulnerable. Privacy concerns aside, better online identity authentication would improve the current situation where people use the same passwords for their e-mail, banking, and social network accounts. Mr. Grant went on to compare weak security to flimsly locks on bathroom doors: “If we can get everyone to use a strong deadbolt instead of a flimsy bathroom door lock, you significantly improve the kind of security we have.”
The source article can be found here.