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>Privacy, civil liberty groups remain cautious on NSTIC

06/10/2011

>Data surveillance, national ID concerns expressed at NSTIC work group

NSTIC is a proposal for a national identity ecosystem. The issue of national identity is certainly settled for some interests surveying the new NOI green paper released yesterday from the Dept. of Commerce.

“There’s a new central hub and unless done properly your ID provider knows your date of birth and potentially every other piece of information along with your transaction history,” says IdentityFinder’s, Aaron Titus.

The better question identity frontmen are asking is how is it not a national ID?   Answers to this question today seemed more of a spooky apparition at the 2011 NSTIC workshop, hosted by NIST through Friday. Concerns about the ability to mine and sell information byproducts from the identity ecosystem remained unanswered and were treated as comments by NIST moderator, Jeremy Grant.

Governance- a gelatinous term used by corporations and powerful NGO’s- was clarified by Grant in intital remarks for the workshop. Examples of enmeshed public identity exchanges presented were NACHA’s administration of government-based electronic funds transfers and a Smart Grid proposal for energy conservation and evaluations.  Identity Ecosystem Consortium organizer, Kaliya Hamlin, then called for definition to the broad issue of “trust”; which has distinctions over the public and private sector for NSTIC.

The jury is apparently still out.  Breakout sessions this afternoon absorbed legal, technology and policy infrastructure analysts to determine the pecking order of NIST’s developing steering groups. With privacy concerns hanging so heavily in air, one had to wonder whether a privacy advocate’s appearance would be treated as an endorsement or as an effete stakeholder as part of the steering committee processes.

“I don’t think it would be endorsement in this context.  It feels far from endorsement. There’s a lot of real, technical stuff going on here that matters,” said Lee Tien, an EFF attorney towards relevance in NSTIC’s steering group.

A diplomatic appearance from a very nervous ACLU counsel, Jay Stanley, resulted in a pointed threat level comparison of national ID programs to “the nuclear bomb”of American civil liberties.   Stanley left the podium with “campaign or not to campaign against” as the question between terms of privacy and the NSTIC proposal.

The Obama Administration’s priorities are reputedly low towards Real ID, the U.S.’ current national ID card program.  That may be due to recent efforts to achieve similar ends in successive backdoor public-private programs hinging on involuntary data collection: the RIDE initiative, biometric worker ID cards and NSTIC, a universal online identifier compared to OpenID.

The first privacy centric workshop for the NSTIC proposal is scheduled June 27& 28th at MIT. 

You can review today’s workshop archives here.

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