The next story in the Privacy and Trust series will be coming shortly, but first will be this update on the Inside ID conference in Washington, D.C. The conference has an exhibit area where dozens of vendors are showing digital identify solutions including smart cards, biometric technology, and middleware. There are almost 100 speakers from government, academia, and the private sector. I gave a talk at the opening general session where I shared a big-picture view about the shape of the future of the Internet. I talked about what the Internet has in store for our business and personal lives and why trust, in the form of secure digital identity and authentication, is critical. Since I have a meeting in Washington on Thursday anyway, I decided to stay in town to visit the exhibition hall and attend as many of the seminar sessions as possible. I am very glad I decided to do that — I have learned a lot.
The first thing that becomes obvious to an attendee at the Inside ID conference is that the sujbect matter is broad and deep. A partial list of the topics include security, privacy, identity, identity management, identity fraud, biometrics, authentication, authorization, and encryption. Another thing that becomes clear is that there are many players including vendors of hardware, software, and services, state governments, and many departments of the Federal government. The issues are global but different parts of the world are approaching things differently, although there were many signs of cooperation. For example it appears likely that passports will go digital globally. There are debates about which technologies to use, how big the storage capacity of a smartcard needs to be, and how digital IDs should be used, but there is general agreement on the standards to be used. Likewise in North America, there is agreement among all the states and Canada on what is needed for a digital driver’s license. The standard that has been developed will allow some states to go further than others but all will be compatiable and a basic level to prevent a person from having more than one driver’s license in North America. The licenses will use a bar code that can be scanned by police officers in their patrol car. The rollout begins in the second quarter of next year. Many other application areas were discussed including government payment programs and defense contractor identity management.