President Obama is putting plans in motion to give the Commerce Department authority to create an Internet ID for all Americans, a White House official told CNET.com.
White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt told the website it is "the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government" to centralize efforts toward creating an "identity ecosystem" for the Internet.
The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace is currently being drafted by the Obama administration and will be released by the president in a few months.
"We are not talking about a national ID card. We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said at an event Friday at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, according to CNET.com.
Locke added that the Commerce Department will be setting up a national program office to work on this project.
The move has raised eyebrows about privacy issues.
"The government cannot create that identity infrastructure," Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology told the website. "If I tried to, I wouldn't be trusted."
Schmidt stresses that anonymity will remain on the Internet, saying there's no chance that "a centralized database will emerge."
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