Western CIO Summit: eAuthentication Panel

I'm at the Western CIO Summit in Park City. My panel on eAuthentication was the first one this morning. Also on the panel were Glenn Miller of the University of North Dakota's NDGRO program, Steve Timchak, the eAuthentication program manager at the GSA, and Chuck Chamberlain who does business development for the US Postal Service. Steve talked about the eAuthentication initiative and provided some clarifying information about what it is and what it isn't. Essentially, eAuthenticaion is a policy decision point (PDP) for the federal government.

Chuck talked about the US Postal Service's In-Person Proofing and Electronic Postmark initiatives. Both of these are quite interesting. In-person proofing allows a private company to create an electronic form that can be printed and taken to the local post office for in-person authentication against a physical ID. This is perfect for certificate authorities and other who need strong proof that the certificate is being issued to the right person. Electronic postmark is exactly what you'd think it is. Chuck mentioned that this will be part of Microsoft Word soon so that you can get an electronic postmark on a Word document before you email it off to someone.

My role was to be controversial (a role I had no trouble fitting myself for). My talk was about the proper role for government in digital identity. I've put my slides online along with a paper that discusses my points in more detail. In short, my primary thesis is that government has played an important foundational role in identity in the physical world, but has abdicated its role in the digital world, hoping that private interests will somehow fill the gap. I generated plenty of comments, both pro and con. That was the point: raise some awareness.