Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Plans for Commerce Dept. to Create Internet ID for All Americans
Barack Obama proposed the need for sweeping changes in the manner in which the government could have control over the nation’s internet. The general premise was that security of the internet was of utmost importance in our nation’s national security. At the time, a proposed Senate bill would offer President Obama emergency control of the Internet and may give him a "kill switch" to shut down online traffic by seizing private networks. Details of what is now called the Cyber security Act of 2009 emerged after an initial version authored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., was described by internet corporations and scientist as being a dangerous government intrusion.
The original bill gave the president to essentially turn off the Internet in the case of a 'cyber-emergency,' which they didn't define. Moreover, at his discretion, he could force private companies tied to the Web, including Internet service providers and search engines, to take action by cutting off their connections to the World Wide Web for up to 30 days. As usual, it was given little attention by major news organizations.
Now, President Obama is giving the U.S. Commerce Department the authority over a cyber-security effort to create an Internet ID for all Americans according to a White House spokesperson and Cyber security Coordinator Howard Schmidt. The announcement was made at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, where U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Schmidt spoke.
Called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stated that the program will be introduced by the president in the next few months.
Although Locke indicated that they were "not talking about a national ID card" or a “government-controlled system”, it is difficult to see how such would be different from what he described. As of now, little if any information is available on the "trusted identity" project. What is known and speculated is that it will be a smart card or digital certificate that would prove that online users are who they say they are. These digital IDs would be offered to consumers by online vendors for financial transactions.
The questions remain however. Will internet users have complete anonymity and pseudonymity as they do currently if desired? Will this be contained in a secret or hidden a centralized database? The Obama administration has been pushing this since he took office. It is just interesting how much importance are being places on security and defense, in particularly directed toward US Citizens in light of his recent signing into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. It seems as if the federal government is more threaten by the liberty and freedom of its citizens more than others.