US Government Begins Rollout Of Its 'Driver's License For The Internet'

from the seizing-the-(wrong)-moment dept

An idea the government has been kicking around since 2011 is finally making its debut. Calling this move ill-timed would be the most gracious way of putting it.

A few years back, the White House had a brilliant idea: Why not create a single, secure online ID that Americans could use to verify their identity across multiple websites, starting with local government services. The New York Times described it at the time as a “driver’s license for the internet.”

Sound convenient? It is. Sound scary? It is.

Next month, a pilot program of the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” will begin in government agencies in two US states, to test out whether the pros of a federally verified cyber ID outweigh the cons.

The NSTIC program has been in (slow) motion for nearly three years, but now, at a time when the public’s trust in government is at an all time low, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST — itself still reeling a bit from NSA-related blowback) is testing the program in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The first tests appear to be exclusively aimed at accessing public programs, like government assistance. The government believes this ID system will help reduce fraud and overhead, by eliminating duplicated ID efforts across multiple agencies.

But the program isn’t strictly limited to government use. The ultimate goal is a replacement of many logins and passwords people maintain to access content and participate in comment threads and forums. This “solution,” while somewhat practical, also raises considerable privacy concerns.

[T]he Electronic Frontier Foundation immediately pointed out the red flags, arguing that the right to anonymous speech in the digital realm is protected under the First Amendment. It called the program “radical,” “concerning,” and pointed out that the plan “makes scant mention of the unprecedented threat such a scheme would pose to privacy and free speech online.”

And the keepers of the identity credentials wouldn’t be the government itself, but a third party organization. When the program was introduced in 2011, banks, technology companies or cellphone service providers were suggested for the role, so theoretically Google or Verizon could have access to a comprehensive profile of who you are that’s shared with every site you visit, as mandated by the government.

Beyond the privacy issues (and the hints of government being unduly interested in your online activities), there are the security issues. This collected information would be housed centrally, possibly by corporate third parties. When hackers can find a wealth of information at one location, it presents a very enticing target. The government’s track record on protecting confidential information is hardly encouraging.

The problem is, ultimately, that this is the government rolling this out. Unlike corporations, citizens won’t be allowed the luxury of opting out. This “internet driver’s license” may be the only option the public has to do things like renew actual driver’s licenses or file taxes or complete paperwork that keeps them on the right side of federal law. Whether or not you believe the government’s assurances that it will keep your data safe from hackers, keep it out of the hands of law enforcement (without a warrant), or simply not look at it just because it’s there, matters very little. If the government decides the positives outweigh the negatives, you’ll have no choice but to participate.

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Comments on “US Government Begins Rollout Of Its 'Driver's License For The Internet'”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

A very concerning point

‘This collected information would be housed centrally, possibly by corporate third parties.

So all that juicy data would be housed by third parties, and therefor, by the government’s arguments and actions, completely negating any expectations of privacy, meaning any agency could browse around to their heart’s content, without once involving a judge.

Oh yes, brilliant timing there. I’m sure that will go over great, and never be abused… /s

OldHobo (profile) says:

Re: Heh!

It is no wonder you are anonymous, you show your cowardliness. Anyone that shows their ignorance by insulting a vast amount of peoples, by calling them names, and that behind their backs, should not be allowed to post, on an otherwise meaningful discussion.
I’m sure you have your share of stupid people, in whatever country you’re from. Anyway, a lot of people that fail to see what is happening, are far from being stupid, In fact many have a higher than average IQ, and education. Instead of stupid, they are highly deceived. Many of the lesser intelligent and the under-educated people see what is happening, because they have common sense.
If you are unaware of what common sense is, it’s that (let’s say) instinctual thing, that allows you to know things such as, ie: just because some, of a group of people are one way, doesn’t make all of them like that.
As a result of having common sense they don’t go around throwing insults like you did.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Negative. I can get access in one form or another to the Internet without needing the government to authorize that access.

Can’t do the same for road access. If I drive without government authorization I could have my property(motor conveyance) seized and my life possibly thrown into traction.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I think you are just mincing terms.

Do you have a right to eat? Do you see that delineated anywhere in the constitution? Is the ISP a government entity?

What argument are you making here? Is the government regulating my access to the internet like they are the roads?

Just because there is a business or even government regulated business surrounding it does not mean its considered a privilege. What may be more at stake here is that you seem to be of the mind that unless its in the constitution that is not a right. That line of thinking is what is destroying this nation.

Anything that the government has not written law against and does not offend the Constitution and basic common sense is a right. Anything the government has written laws to control is a privilege. Government writing laws to regulate should not be construed to imply privilege or control.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Hmm, from your various question I see that I have failed to make myself understood. Perhaps we have different ideas on what constitutes a right?

In my view, whether or not the government is involved has nothing whatsoever to do with whether something is a right or not. Obviously, internet access is not a right because it can legally be denied to anyone at any time for any reason. Whether or not the government is the one doing the denying is irrelevant.

“Just because there is a business or even government regulated business surrounding it does not mean its considered a privilege.”

I never asserted otherwise. However, if your ability to do something can be legally prevented by a business or government, then it clearly is not something that is legally considered to be a right at all.

I do not believe that our rights are delineated by the Constitution, because generally speaking, the Constitution doesn’t do that. It limits government, not grants rights. I’m not sure why you bring this up since I didn’t mention the Constitution at all.

“Anything that the government has not written law against and does not offend the Constitution and basic common sense is a right.”

I think this definition is extremely flawed. What is “basic common sense?” A whole lot of infringement on people’s rights takes place under the rubric of “basic common sense”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

So in your reasoning, nothing is a right? Life can be legally denied someone as well… Capital Punishment.

Because at the end of the day, anything can be taken from anyone under the color of authority because that’s just how things go. Please tell me in your words… whom, what, or how do you derive what you consider to be rights?

Name a single thing government(s) has not laid claim to?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Do you really want to dive into the weeds of this thing? I think what I said can be easily understood by almost everyone without embarking on a deep philosophical discussion of what is or is not a “right”.

So, to shortcut a discussion that’s impossible to cover adequately in a comment section, let me just say — there are no absolute rights, but there are rights. Absolute rights are logically impossible because it’s always possible to exercise your rights in a way that infringes on someone else’s, and when rights conflict with each other, compromises must be made.

Your example of it being possible to legally deprive someone of their right to life is a great example of this. What you say is true, but it’s also true that you have a right to exist. This is expressed by the fact that your right can only be legally ignored under certain very specific circumstances.

When I talk about ISPs being able to deny you access, this is an indication that the access is not a right because the ISP does not have to justify denying you access in any way. You don’t have a right to it, so they can just tell you to fuck off because they feel like it. If it were a right, they’d have to justify their decision in some way.

You keep bringing the government back into this discussion, but I don’t think it really belongs here at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

I think it is time to end the conversion. You have already contradicted yourself. It is important to be able to clarify yourself in a way that does not contradict in order to have meaningful conversation.

You posited that because it is possible for someone to be denied something makes it privilege. Yet you claim that existence is a right.

You cannot hold that right to exist is true even when it may be removed, while denying the Internet is a right even when it may be removed.

Sure a business can tell me that I cannot use their network to access the Internet, but they cannot take my access to the internet itself away because I can achieve it through other means. Are you getting it yet? Just as it is a right to shop at various stores (whether I take a road or sidewalk), I have a right to the internet (whether I use an ISP or make one myself)! Are you getting it yet?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

“I think it is time to end the conversion”

I agree. That you think I contradicted myself just speaks to how bad I am at communicating my points with you.

“Are you getting it yet?”

I believe that I do understand what you’re saying. You’re just not understanding what I’m saying. Fair enough.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I broke this into a separate thread.

I think you are mistaken to believe that the Constitution Limits government. To get more technical.

There is only 1 way to view it properly… The Constitution is a document that Grants Government Power… The Bill of Rights is the limiter. The word Constitution is used generally, but usually not to negative detriment.

The Citizens are responsible for Limiting Government. No Document, no Words, and no Spirit of intent shall be able to accommodate this never ending task sufficiently. Only the threat of a Patriot will keep a government in check.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

“I think you are mistaken to believe that the Constitution Limits government”

If you mean that it is not successful at limiting government, I agree with you. If you mean that limiting government is not it’s purpose, then you are incorrect. That is expressly it’s purpose.

Not just the Bill of Rights, the whole thing. The main body of the Constitution is limiting in nature. It says “these are the things that the government may do, and the government may not do anything else.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

It says “these are the things that the government may do, and the government may not do anything else.”

Federalist 44, Publius


The sixth and last class consists of the several powers and provisions by which efficacy is given to all the rest.

1. Of these the first is, the “power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”

Few parts of the Constitution have been assailed with more intemperance than this; yet on a fair investigation of it, no part can appear more completely invulnerable. Without the substance of this power, the whole Constitution would be a dead letter. Those who object to the article, therefore, as a part of the Constitution, can only mean that the form of the provision is improper. But have they considered whether a better form could have been substituted?

There are four other possible methods which the Constitution might have taken on this subject. They might have copied the second article of the existing Confederation, which would have prohibited the exercise of any power not expressly delegated; they might have attempted a positive enumeration of the powers comprehended under the general terms “necessary and proper”; they might have attempted a negative enumeration of them, by specifying the powers excepted from the general definition; they might have been altogether silent on the subject, leaving these necessary and proper powers to construction and inference.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

The success of the Constitution at limiting government is not the objective of my disagreement. “Limiting in nature” may be an acceptable way to phrase it for most but still not correct.

Constitution grants Powers to Government. This is correct Syntax.
“Limiting in nature” is a euphemistic equivalent, but should not be considered correct, no matter how close to the facts it gets.

Yes I am splitting hairs but in this case it is important. If I say you may enter my house, what permissions are given? Only entry to the house.
If I say you man not use the hallway, you still have not been limited from breaking my windows.

It is the mind set we approach a situation with that defines how we will deal with people attempting to take more than they deserved or have a right to. If you approach every situation with Government as a Euphemism then you will lose continually, allow me to indicate human history as that very proof!

JarHead (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Correct me if I’m wrong here, I think what you’re talking is like white/blacklisting rights. The end goal is “controlling” who have rights to what, but differs on approach and initial assumptions.

With blacklisting, the initial assumption is the target have every rights possible. Controls are implemented by having a list which lists the exceptions. If something is not listed on that list, then by default it is assumed the target have that right.

In whitelisting, the initial assumption is that the target doesn’t have any right whatsoever. The list then contains the exception to that rule, that is the rights the target have. If something is not listed, then by default it is assumed the target doesn’t have that right.

The Constitution then can be seen as a whitelist, in which it grants only those rights/powers to the government, which assumed to be inherently powerless/without rights. So it can be said that Constitution grants Powers to Government.

So how is it not limiting the goverment? In a sense it is, but the term limiting conjures the image that the government can do everything under the sun except those which are listed/regulated in the Constitution. This is a dangerous idea which can drive people complacent/apathy if the government do something outside it’s mandate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“It’s a privilege, not a right,” is a phrase that gets dragged out frequently in conjunction with vehicle operator permits… you know, real drivers licenses.

It’s the government’s ability to punitively remove access for behavior that is partially or completely unrelated.

So, all we need is some overeager “think of the children” legislator getting conditions where your “internet drivers license” is revoked for certain actions. Like say, falling behind on child support payments, because as we all know, someone who’s unemployed has no use for the internet. Being an ex-felon who’s served their time, in the fear that they may do “internet terrorism” things, and of course, speaking out against any agency that has influence over revocation, because, as the TSA has repeatedly proven, we can trust our government agencies to act responsibly.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

And I fall back to an old idea I keep bringing up…
Make Congress live with this first.
Stop testing it or inflicting it on the people until you’ve had to walk that mile in our shoes.

This is a stupid idea.

I can see a secure ID program for using Gov programs, trying to stop waste, duplicating costs, cutting down on fraud… but rolling this out widely flys in the face of the ‘freedoms’ we allegedly still have. People have a right to speak out without having to worry that it is part of a dossier available to people who can hack, run the program, of the government who might like to know exactly who insulted a congressman who wants to teach that guy a lesson.

Ed Allen (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Two years of any curious person being able to see what they rake in from “speaking engagements” alone would be
enough to wake them to the potential for abuse.

Imagine what the reaction would be to learing that YOUR senile old man uses the Internet for almost
one hour per month, has no personal email account, and travels mostly in the private jets of “friends”.

I wonder what the reelection rate would be for that two years.

Violynne (profile) says:

This collected information would be housed centrally, possibly by corporate third parties.
How would this be different than today, apart from the “centrally”? Third parties already have our “internet ID”.

When hackers can find a wealth of information at one location, it presents a very enticing target.
Was “enticing target” a pun? Because I laughed.

Moochers wouldn’t need to attack the central system. They can easily grab the information from sites which still haven’t encrypted their data, and there are plenty out there ripe for the taking.

But there is one silver lining to this plan: the NSA would no longer need to intercept data. I’m fairly confident where this “centrally” located area is, or will be, once they fix their water issue.

Just Another Anonymous Troll says:

Re: Re:

It will be different because this will be more than just whatever you feel like giving Google. This mysterious third party will have all manner of information on you, a little more than stuff like your full name and date of birth.

Hackers would target this central system because, again, they will have more information than just any old site AND they will have pretty much all the information on EVERYONE in the U.S., not just whoever uses the site.

John Cressman (profile) says:

What could POSSIBLY go wrong...

Wait! why do they need this? Isn’t the NSA already collecting all of our information? I mean, come one, the NSA is already sharing that with any government agency who wants it – CIA, FBI, ATF, DEA, etc. So why not just open that access to everyone?

Seriously, who in their right mind would want to use a GOVERNMENT ID to surf the web. You know everything you do would be tracked.

If that happens, I go DarkNet all the way.

John Fenderson (profile) says:


If this is confined to requiring this ID just to access government web sites, well, I don’t like it but it doesn’t seem so much worse than the current arrangement. (And, personally, I don’t really use government web sites anyway.)

It’s hard to see how they could require this ID to be used anywhere else, however. That would be the thing I’d get all up in arms about.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Two words: 'Internet filters'

The UK and other countries rolled out their ‘internet filters’ with excuses like ‘to keep porn out of the hands of children’, and ‘to protect copyright’ and all those nice, harmless sounding reasons, yet, inevitably, once the system is in place, well, let’s just add a few more categories in there, a few more sites to the list, after all, the system is ‘for the public’s benefit’ you know, and who could argue against that?

Once the system is in place, then it’s only a matter of time until it’s expanded, and at that point it’s generally too late.

JarHead (profile) says:

Re: Meh.

Let’s say that this ID is only required when accessing govt sites/services. Without an express regulation that this ID cannot be used beyond that, the situation degrade really fast, even without further govt intervention.

Private sites will then see that the ID can cut the cost of maintaining their own database, and allocate those resources to other things. Before long, the ID became standard.

Yes, it is not certain that it’ll roll out that way, but will you leave things like privacy and security to chance?

btr1701 says:

Re: Re: Meh.

Without an express regulation that this ID cannot be used beyond that, the situation degrade really fast, even without further govt intervention.

Even with express regulation, there’s no safeguard. When SSNs were first introduced, there was express regulation that the SSN was not to be used as a general identifier for people by other government agencies or private entities. Fast forward 40 years and the SSN has become your catchall identifier for everything from your cable account to your tax returns.

OldHobo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Meh.

What most people fail to know, is the social security number, wasn’t called the social security number, when first being proposed. it was called your Personal Number. This was too close to the “number of your name” so it was changed to ‘social insecurity’ I mean security. Another ‘pull the wool over their eyes’ act.

Since the Bible has already been brought up, those supposed believers, that also believe in this government, should look to the part where Satan led Christ up on the pinnacle, (the high place) and pointed out all of those principalities, and municipalities, (that;s kingdoms, big and small) and said, all of these I give you if you worship me. Now Christ didn’t say you can’t give them away, because they belong to my father, so they are already my birthright. No, he said he would only worship the father, and he let Satan keep his governments. That aught to show folk why things are so messed up. Because to be a leader, you have to worship Satan. that doesn’t mean you have to literally bow down, but you have to be a not very good person, following in Satan’s footsteps, with deception, and all kinds of other negative traits, but will have good charisma, being a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Meh.

Because firstly you can volunteer to use government ID, then they move ALL services like filing taxes online-only, which means if you DON’T go to prison for tax avoidance.

Sprinkle in some rootkits/monitoring software (secretly at first) whenever you log-in to the government portal…followed by logging in to the portal before your ISP lets you out of the ‘walled garden’..hey presto! totalitarianism in a way that would make chairman mao spooge his pants with envy.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m going out on a limb here but i don’t think they’ll expand past the pilot programs, given the blowback to the NSA and as stated trust in the government being at an all time low they’re not gonna get this through without some serious screaming and hollering.

This would EASILY paint them as the bad guys and no one likes being tracked.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They already ARE the bad guys…hell the NYPD allowed rich people to stand on the balcony in a building they own and throw empty champagne bottles at Occupy Wall Street Protestors and the government stood by and did nothing.

The Mayor of New York decided all ‘the blacks’ were criminals and started having them stopped/searched based purely on skin color..Obama said nothing.

The NSA/CIA authorized assassinations of US citizens inside AND outside the mainland USA and obama…….did nothing.

At this point, either Obama is the most ineffective guy ever to sit in the Oval Office, or he’s the bad guy or he’s being blackmailed in some way into letting his presidential legacy go down in flames (or all three) but whatever way you see it, he KNOWS people worldwide now see him as the bad guy.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, Broken Old Bummer is none of those things.

He is simply the silver-tongued conman the Top500 Mafia-owned corporations hired to stand in front of the US Public and lie about whatever they tell him to lie about, and he’s probably the best liar to ever sit in the Offal Office.

He’s just doing a really difficult job for a really big pile of money. What could be more American than that?

Kristine Schachinger says:

Hope these are helpful

Here are three articles I wrote on the topic starting in 2011. There are explanations and video. NOTE this is not only for the US. This is a worldwide move and why G+ was called an identity platform not a social network by Eric Schmidt.

It is only in the pilot program. There is time to stop this especially with elections coming.

Some of my previous articles about this program.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Guns only kill people. Anonymous speech kills governments.

Slight change there, the ones in charge of (insert country government here) don’t particularly care about the country, as they demonstrate time and time again, but only their power and authority.

A corrupt government may fall, while the country lives on, but since they see themselves not as the government, but the country, to them, the two are indistinguishable.

MikeW (profile) says:

Oh, is that what that's called?

I have one of those, and I have to use it to join social networks, do online shopping, or do things with government websites. Worse, it doesn’t function on any browser that isn’t Internet Explorer. I sincerely hope the US doesn’t follow through, but if it does, at the very least I hope that it allows other browsers.

Pine says:

already has been done....

It’s called openID and its been around for years WITHOUT government involvement and has way to limit private information if so chosen.

You already have to have a real drivers license to drive a car and they call it a privilege, so now is the government going to force us to use there ID and tell us the internet is a privilege?

Now i wait for them to tell us that “skynet” is now real and going online in the near future……

John Snape (profile) says:

Online ID

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and if you’ll hear me out, I hope I make at least a few salient statements:

I have read and re-read Revelation multiple times, trying to figure out what exactly the mark of the beast will be. To me, it looks as though it is the internet. If you look at Revelation 13:16-17 it says “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

When you think of someone who’s never seen or used a computer, and the fact that most of us are right-handed, if you read that passage, can you see how it could be used to describe using a computer (holding a mouse with your right hand)?

Now, with governments worldwide trying to create an “internet ID” that would make sure you are you when interacting with any website online, including buying or selling, and how easy it would be to then force people to get a physical ID to carry with them to augment the online ID when buying or selling, it seems to shoehorn directly into a mark of the beast.

Your thoughts?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Online ID

When you think of someone who’s never seen or used a computer, and the fact that most of us are right-handed, if you read that passage, can you see how it could be used to describe using a computer (holding a mouse with your right hand)?

I see a number of problems:

1) A mouse is not a mark.

2) Even if it is a mark it isn’t on your hand, it’s in your hand. This may seem like word parsing but if you’re a literalist, you’re going to have to interpret things literally. You can’t have it both ways.

3) It’s unlikely you would use a mouse to enter an ID, you would most likely use your keyboard. To be fair, if it was a purely numerical ID you could use the keypad on the right side of your keyboard, presumably with your right hand.

4) A keypad is not a mark.

5) Even if a keypad is a mark it isn’t on your hand, it’s in your hand.

6) A deeper problem: why is the bible to be interpreted literally? The literal truth of it is an assumption based on nothing. There’s no more reason to take it literally than there is to read a poem by Baudelaire literally.

BeeAitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Online ID

It seems to me that you are the one interpreting the passage literally.

Disclaimer: I’m an atheist, but use the bible as a philosophical and/or moral document (ie. NOT literally).

For example:

Revelation 13:16-17 it says “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

The mark does not have to be physical, especially in the modern world, to be a mark.

Mate (profile) says:

Re: Online ID

Totally true. I am christian too, though sadly I know I still have to change my life, because it is not that it should be.

Bible warned us 2000 years ago for this event , and people say there’s no God. It is so obvious ! It is a bit scary to see these events happening, to be honest I thought they will come much more later !

Just look at today’s technology, it sure goes toward the RFID chip ( which also already exists now ) , so humans will be chipped, and totally controlled.

Anyone who reads this : before you say Im stupid just read not the whole Bible, but the Revelations . Jesus is coming back soon, better prepare for it !

btr1701 says:

Re: Online ID

Your thoughts?

Your entire thesis rests on the false presumption that this “beast” is a real entity. It’s no more real than the Easter Bunny.

There are a lot of reasons to oppose this program. Worrying that it’s the sign of some battle between imaginary sky-warriors is not one of them.

Just Another Anonymous Troll says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Online ID

I once got a grabber claw in my Easter basket, something I had wanted for years but my parents would not let me have under any circumstances. You were saying?
Not saying either side is right or wrong here, but this program does have some eerie similarities to Revelations, just sayin…

Anonymous Coward says:

I already won’t give certain services my social security number and requests for validated information. While I can not control the government vacuuming it up, I can prevent it from being out there nilly willy at any site for identity theft. The less places that data is, the more secure it is.

If that means doing with out those services or accessing one place over another so be it. I’ll do with them.

Now here is the government once again attempting to short circuit that right of control. Even worse is they are saying we won’t give your data out because we aren’t holding it.

Near every few months it’s heard that this or that data base is broken into or some worker has had his laptop stolen who just happened to take his work home. Several TBs of personal info from that database where he works at has come up missing.

Thank you but no thank you. This is a terrible idea.

Anonymous Coward says:

The final straw

I will not stand for this. If this spreads throughout the whole nation, I will quit the net, heavily protest this, and if all else fails, leave the country until things get better (with the way things are going, it’s looking like “for good”). I hear Russia’s looking like a paragon of freedom these days (sarcasm).

David Kearns (profile) says:


Did you even bother to read the report, or just the hopelessly wrong post on HuffPo?

There is no “internet driver’s license”. The proposal is for people to have one or more digital identities, from 3rd party Identitty Providers, which can be used around the ‘net. Things like Facebook ID, Google ID, Apple ID or that from any website willing to be a guarantor of that ID. It’s all about Federated Identity (aka Web Single Signon).

Get your facts straight before attempting to inflame the masses.

Salvatore D'Agostino (user link) says:


You have options about where as opposed to only going to the Department of Motor Vehicles. You already have these with social and in fact the “Have a Techdirt Account” request in this window is an internet driver license to drive on this site. The NSTIC and related IDESG are not trying to get everyone to use a federated ID but would like to make the one you do use more secure, transparent, interoperable, etc. How about if you didn’t have to sign away all user controls if you “like” something. It might be about those holding data being responsible to you as opposed to their shareholders. A number of real and important differences might surface if you actually did more than parrot last week’s paraphrase of the effort.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: NSTIC

“You already have these with social and in fact the “Have a Techdirt Account” request in this window is an internet driver license to drive on this site.”

I have no “social” accounts, so I don’t have one of those. My Techdirt account is a bad example, as it’s completely unnecessary to have an account to use the site. And if it were necessary, it’s more like a ticket to a particular venue than a uniform ID card.

“The NSTIC and related IDESG are not trying to get everyone to use a federated ID but would like to make the one you do use”

They’re not? I thought they specifically do want to get everyone to use such ID. They just don’t have the power to require it anywhere except on government sites. BTW, I do not use federated ID services of any sort, so they can’t improve the one I do use.

“How about if you didn’t have to sign away all user controls if you “like” something.”

Well, since I don’t use Facebook, I don’t personally care one bit about the “like” buttons. I rather suspect that people who do use Facebook don’t care so much about these issues (or they wouldn’t be using facebook).

“It might be about those holding data being responsible to you as opposed to their shareholders.”

How does federated ID do this?

“A number of real and important differences might surface if you actually did more than parrot last week’s paraphrase of the effort.”

Now, now, no need to get insulting. I’m asking honest and legitimate questions. By the way, I’ve actually been following these issues (including federated ID) for years. I’m not just parroting last week’s paraphrase.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: NSTIC

“Have a Techdirt Account” request in this window is an internet driver license to drive on this site.

It is an invitation to set up a nick names to identify yourself on this site, and does not require a validated identity. In fact with a little effort, someone can register on this site while remaining anonymous, while using a pseudonym on posts when signed in.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

Party Time at the NSA!

“Hey, guys, let’s get the government (mainly us) to do this single identity thing! Won’t it be neat to have all that data available without any search warrants or court stuff!”

Yeah, I can see the advantages of it-but not to users. Advertisers, government agencies and hackers will all have a blast getting our data for free without any kind of silly nonsense about privacy!

Oh, and by the way, you can kiss the idea of ‘anonymity on the internet’ good bye forever, and all the associated workarounds that people have been using.

Because once the government does this, it’s gone forever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ok, whatever brain dead individual thought this was a good idea that needed to be implemented in the first place needs to be barred from having anything to do with making any policy decisions regarding technology EVER for life. One key that allows anyone with access to it to have access to every service the individual uses ever? Can you say asking to be abused? Nevermind the fact that since it is shared with companies, competing companies can then use it to see what other competitors services their users are also using and to what capacity and then even possibly use it to sabotage user experiences with competing services. Yeah that’s a good idea right there.

Anonymous Coward says:

NSA Agent 1: hey did you notice a lot of criminals use the same password on multiple websites?

NSA Agent 2: Sssh we aren’t allowed to call them criminals yet, at least not until the NSA-knows-best amendment is passed anyway and yes I did notice this ..what about it?

NSA Agent 1: Well, what if we setup a COMPULSORY system where people have to select a username and password…but WE CONTROL IT ENTIRELY?

NSA Agent 2: I Like where you’re going with this, so we’d have access to a good percentage of our adversaries, …oops..’citizens’ passwords we could use to access even encrypted websites? Awesome . But until we do that how about we trump up some charges against a few teenagers and see if we can make them kill themselves?

NSA Agent 1: Thats so last year…..

quawonk says:

Sure, it starts with government websites, but lets not kid ourselves into thinking it’ll end there. Lets follow this through to its ultimate conclusion.

Gov Spook #1: “This guy is asking some hard questions and speaking some unpleasant truths.”

Gov Spook #2: “Disable his ID”

It’s about control. The government will be able to ban you from the Internet if they don’t like you, and it’ll also take away anonymity and privacy to scare people into watching what they say. As long as you parrot the approved propaganda your ID will remain intact.

Dana says:

Oh for crying out loud.

You have in-person and on-paper options for every single thing you might need to do in interacting with the government.

Get up off your lazy butt and find a stamp.

And guess who’s “at an all-time low” in trusting the government these days? Right-wing racist a**hole Republicans who can’t stand having a Democrat in the White House. I won’t say my trust of the government is 100% or even 75% but that’s true no matter who is in office. The big hue and cry about it NOW is coming chiefly from those mouthbreathing malcontents. And I. DO NOT. CARE. Most things that piss them off are winners in my book, because THEY piss ME off. Saying I’m not a real American. Saying I’m a traitor and deserve to die. JUST because I’m a liberal, no other reason. Screw them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You’re really missing the forest for the trees. The only difference between the Rs and Ds is that the Ds want you to like them, at least most of the time. That said, they’re still both halves of the same coin, and it’s that coin that should be pissing you off. Ever heard of the good cop/bad cop routine? 😉

Blank Reg (profile) says:

Re: The current administration is amazing

This has nothing to do with left or right. This about government power, period. Each new administration, regardless of political party, picks up where the previous one left off, and uses all the new toys of oppression left by that predecessor, then continues on to create new and even more insidious ones for the next guy to play with. They don’t care about voter ID because voting doesn’t really change anything, anyway. But as a previous poster said, anonymous internet use can bring down governments. Yep, those pesky new dangerous ideas, being spread faster than wildfire at the click of a mouse. That’s why every effort is being expended to “control” the internet, because the Powers That Be have lost control of their message.

Anonymous Coward says:

You guys completely misunderstood NSTIC. If you actually took the time to read the proposal, you’d see that it is very sensitive to security and privacy and goes to great lengths to limit the government’s ability to track you across websites. But that would require actual intellectual effort, that you apparently incapable of.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It looks to me like the only thing it does to limit the government’s ability to track you is pinky swear not to do that, and given the revelations of what the NSA’s gotten up to when nobody was looking, that promise rings a little hollow. In any case, no matter what security features they put on it, it would be better to simply not have such a thing exist.

Medical Quack (user link) says:

Be Aware..privacy alerts here...

Good addressing the 3rd parties here because we have a data selling epidemic in the US. I just read the White House big data privacy report, and it sucks..nothing new and no mention of the data sellers. I chat with a couple of Quants and they said about the same thing, useless. The White House is such a template on everything they do anymore and when I saw the Obama/Biden selfie, well we have lost them to “The Grays” where people can’t tell the difference between virtual and real world values. I have a write up for that.

Here’s what I said about the pathetic White House report too. I have an on going campaign that every data seller, banks, companies, etc. should have to buy a license so we know who they are and can index them and a license would work and bring tons of companies out of hiding.

The World Privacy Forum was good that was referenced a little in the White House report though…I blogged it too as it addresses “the scoring of America” and the whole world is watching..

WolfgangDS says:

Okay, look: I think this is actually a pretty good idea. It would certainly save people having to create new accounts because the gubment is too paranoid to let their website designers include a password recovery option.

That said, the timing for this IS terrible. It’s not a bad idea, it’s just we shouldn’t be getting it until we can trust the government to not sell out on it.

Annon says:

Of course stopping using the internet or not wanting to use it because you feel watched is what they want. People are really starting to wake up and they don’t like it. Here people have been given jail time for being racist online. No more free speech as much as I hate racism. It’s the first step in censoring. They don’t want us all speaking, sharing and coming together. The whole farce is being unveiled in front of our eyes and they hate it. Facebook has been hugely censored and small (poor) businesses people have suffered with page view cuts… Everything is clamping down we are living in an almost privacy free future. Scary fucking times and I really hope people stand strong together to stop this rape of human rights happen before our eyes. The internet is a powerful tool for good and for bad. Maybe they are seeing there’s too many good people out there who want a better earth without wars. Doesn’t benefit the elite so they will keep pounding us down with every blow until we are mute….. Unless we don’t be sheep, stand up and say no! Could be far too late now though. Worrying. To think the internet not being free and got us to live in the times “it was free” could be a thing of the past. Very scary indeed.

Tom Shepard (profile) says:

It's Older than That ...

See Stephen T. Kent’s Congressional testimony, “IDs?Not That Easy:
Questions About Nationwide Identity Systems”, March 16, 2006.…/IDs_Not_That_Easy.asp

As Vice President and Chief Scientist / Information Security / BBN Technologies, Steve was asked to chair the Committee on Authentication Technologies and Their Privacy Implications, National Research Council / The National Academies. The Committee originally planned to write a paper titled “Who Goes There?”; in the process, they found the issue of establishing identity to be complex enough to warrant another paper (title above; both are linked to in the testimony).

Ad yes: it’s STILL a bad idea.

OldHobo (profile) says:

Internet Licence

The big problem is, The creators of this scheme, created it with the negative parts in mind, with the real goal being to benefit the already powerful, and then spent a lot of time to come up with ways to make it seem, as if there are good points, and intentions.

This is something that is too often done in politics. They seem to always have a hidden agenda, and work at convincing the people they have proper reason for what they do.

Anon666 says:

Doesn’t anyone see what they are doing here? You will be forced to get this ID to recieve any benefits ,so the 1st people to be forced to give up their 1 st amendment will be people who are poor and disaffected and on food stamps and welfare ,the people who they want to silence most 60 million in food stamps who are the most pissed off at the system

ClaudeA says:

Oh, What's Wrong, Lefties? There's No Right Turn Here!

In 2008 when nobama was mouthing off really, really stupid nonsense and Lefties with all their brainless dearth of understanding were miming his rants like sacred mud wrestling cheers, the sane reaction was drowned out.

Now, you Lefties and Righties and all else, what’s got your tongues?

Whining over what you blindly cheered for now is really dumb.

But, the banksters who actually run the White-wash House are laughing out loud, now. Your only hope is to get the facts straight, but it’s kinda late. Don’t ya think?

Carlos Willinias says:

Who's Gov?

How do we know, if we even have a U.S. govern meant anymore?
Manta, “only lists publicly owned companies”;

(Hint; It’s why Mr. Obama can resign @ The Hague, then go back to work in D.C. The next day!)Put ANY alphabet agency in their search engine for a surprise.

They’re all privately owned companies, ‘posing as our governmeant’. It is a legitimate way of finding out & also works on the Dun & Bradstreet site.

Bruce says:

one license is no different than One World Order

And again our government targets those who rely on the government for support. Decades of history with this approach. Start with the dependent and through time it will spread just like welfare programs. The Lord is right as always in His warnings about end-times. Republican or Democrat doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the “haves” want the “have-nots” to shut up and simply go along. Peacefully if possible- forcibly if necessary.

Anonymous Coward says:

there are NO positives, this is about shutting people up and taking away the right to speak freely on the internet. Welcome to China USA. They have collected you history on the net for years already, and if you listen to what Greenwald is saying anyone that stands up to them is the enemy, probably including people that don’t like this idea.

Sortinghat (profile) says:

This is what George Washington meant when he said to beware of political parties. They wanted to make him “King Washington* but he knew the crap that would follow and refused the title outright and just did his regular term by law.

Our founders also said if we cease to become a Christian and republic we will cease to have the proper checks and balances and fall as a nation.

Sortinghat (profile) says:

Since WoodWard Wilson and his monopolies we have left capitalism each decade more and more. We don’t have any of it anymore except a few pieces of residue. We are more socialist (communist lite) if anything.

As a result of having no morals we now need a *boot on your neck* type of law enforcement or we will have anarchy as people don’t know what to do with freedom.

This driver’s license is just the beginning. Next they will make it so insurance for driving is so expensive you will HAVE to have a self driving car then they can *end you* if you vote too far to the right to their liking.

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