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NIST on Public-private Partnerships: ‘It is the Way We Do Business’

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As the National Institute for Standards and Technology finalizes plans for a national strategy for more secure online identity authentication, the leaders of the Commerce Department’s technology shop said the new cyber initiative will be led by the private sector.

Speaking at the RSA Conference, an IT security forum, NIST Director Patrick Gallagher said “just about every activity” NIST does “is done in conjunction with the private sector.”

And, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace is no exception. “It is the way we do business,” he added.

Last month, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt unveiled the national cyber identity program, which aims to develop voluntary identity credentials to bolster e-commerce by building online trust.

NIST’s technologists envision that consumers could use an identity credential, such as a smart card or digital certificate, to prove their identity for things such as online banking, without revealing sensitive information at every log-in.

Late last month, NIST announced a veteran of the identity management industry, Jeremy Grant, would lead NSTIC’s National Program Office.

At this week’s security confab, Grant, who started in his new position earlier this week, echoed NIST’s overall theme of public-private partnerships.

“Collaboration is going to be at the core of the strategy,” Grant said, according to a report on Government Computer News. “We can’t do this ourselves, and we really don’t want to.”

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