Online safety, security and privacy grab their share of the headlines as consumers and businesses grapple with a challenging problem.
How do you protect online users while allowing commerce to flow freely? This is more than an academic question. As United States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke noted in his remarks at the announcement of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), "The world does an estimated $10 trillion of business online."
Unfortunately, the ease of doing business online comes at a price. In the United States alone, more than 8 million Americans were the victims of identity theft or fraud last year, according to the Commerce Department. The cost: $37 billion.
The NSTIC proposes to build an identity ecosystem where consumers and businesses can conduct transactions in a trusted environment. What is most exciting for companies like HID Global is that the Strategy presents a significant business opportunity for innovative companies to take a leadership role in laying the groundwork for trusted identities in cyberspace.
In fact, HID Global presented its solutions at the recent national announcement of the Strategy that took place at the US Chamber of Commerce Headquarters in Washington, DC. During the event, two of our ActivIdentity colleagues, David Belchick and Edwin Betancourth, demonstrated how easily and securely a user can log onto their computer and into various Web sites. Want to check your bank balance and transfer funds, maybe pay a bill or two (or three or four)? We have an app for that! And it's available today!
Edwin and David showed attendees at the event, including folks from international banks, leading universities and government agencies, an app on a Blackberry that generated a one-time password for logging into a Web site. It was fast, easy and secure.
With worldwide mobile phone subscriptions at more than 4.6 billion, an app on a cell phone that delivers secure authentication capabilities has the potential to help consumers conduct their business online in a much more secure fashion and meet the goals of the NSTIC.
Those goals include everything from ensuring privacy protections to creating a governance structure. Overall, the Strategy aims to break down "the barriers that inhibit the adoption of more trustworthy identities in cyberspace." And industry will take the lead on implementing the NSTIC, with government playing a supporting role.
HID has been actively involved in addressing many of these issues, both from a policy perspective and a product/solution standpoint. In the coming months, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) will be holding a series of workshops to address these barriers and much, much more. The first workshop is tentatively slated for June and it will cover governance issues and the second one will focus on privacy concerns.
HID will be at the table to contribute our knowledge and expertise on the development of a safe, secure and private cyber world. More to the point, our products and solutions will be part of a wide range of offerings that will help enable and make that world a reality.