The White House has announced today that a long-standing plan to roll out a federal “Internet ID” authentication scheme that would be used to log in to all websites across the Internet will move forward, and the service will launch in six to twelve months.
“We simply have to kill off the password,” insisted White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel. The initiative began in 2011, with an eye toward public-private plans, but seems now to be centering on wearable authentication bracelets that Americans would apparently get instead of passwords.
Private multiple site authentication systems like OpenID have been around for years, and logging in to websites with a Facebook or Twitter account is also becoming popular. The downside to this, from the administration’s perspective, seems to be that they don’t have direct control over the backbone of such a system.
Given the huge privacy implications of such a federally-run scheme, it’s hard to imagine eager adoption. Distrust in the wake of the NSA surveillance leaks, along with the federal government’s other fiascos in the webspace, like the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website, make this a recipe for monumental failure.
Details are scant, and in the past the administration insisted the program would be “purely voluntary,” though if the goal is really to “kill off the password” nationwide, it clearly will not remain voluntary for long, and full-scale government control over your ability to log in to websites seems to be the ultimate goal.