The Obama administration plans to announce an Internet identity system that will limit fraud and streamline online transactions.
According to a Bloomberg report, the system will be led by the U.S. Commerce Department, will be voluntary and will be maintained by private companies.
A group representing companies including Verizon Communications Inc., Google Inc., PayPal Inc., Symantec Corp. and AT&T Inc. has supported the program, called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC, the report says.
Most companies have separate systems for signing on to e- mail accounts or conducting secure online transactions, requiring that users memorize multiple passwords and repeat steps. Under the new program, consumers would sign in just once and be able to move among other websites, eliminating the inconvenience that causes consumers to drop many transactions.
For example, once the system is in place, says the report, Google would be able to join a trusted framework that has adopted the rules and guidelines established by the Commerce Department. From that point, someone who logged into a Google e-mail account would be able to conduct other business including banking or shopping with other members of the group without having to provide additional information or verification.
The new system will probably hasten the death of traditional passwords, the report said. Instead, users may rely on devices such as smartcards with embedded chips, tokens that generate random codes or biometric devices.
The report said that the new system wouldn’t be a national identity card and that companies, not the government, would manage the data being passed online.