OpenID, meet the U.S. government

OpenID, meet the U.S. government

Summary: The U.S. government has now joined the OpenID effort.


The U.S. government has now joined the OpenID effort.

Ten technology players said Wednesday that they will support President Obama's initial pilot programs to make it easier to register and work with government Web sites. OpenID is an identity system for the Web that lets people use a single username and password to log in and authenticate themselves to OpenID-compliant Web sites.

The players---Yahoo, PayPal, Google, Equifax, AOL, VeriSign, Acxiom, Citi, Privo and Wave Systems---said they will act as digital identity providers using OpenID and Information Card technologies. In a nutshell, select government sites are now using OpenID.

Obama issued a memorandum to make it easier for citizens to work with government Web sites and pilots are being launched by the Center for Information Technology (CIT), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Based on a statement, you'll be able to use your Yahoo, PayPal and Google IDs to sign into government sites. According to the government, the use of OpenID will allow individuals to be more interactive with sites without revealing personally identifiable information.

OpenID community board member Chris Messina wrote in a blog post:

By embracing OpenID (and InfoCard), the government is helping to further establish the value of owning one’s own identity, and of having convenient, consistent, and privacy-protecting mechanisms in place to enhance and enable participation.

The government 2.0 promise is to "transform government websites from basic 'brochureware' into interactive resources, saving individuals’ time and increasing their direct involvement in governmental decision making.

Topics: Legal, Browser, Enterprise Software, Government, Government US, Software Development

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  • In other words...

    IOW, these vendors are colluding with the government on a "bar code on your forehead" type identity plan. Won't be long now...this "identity" will be require to buy or prophesied long ago....
    • Yep!

      Just like MS tried and failed!
      You ALREADY can't do anything without a Passport, Picture ID, and SS number.
    • Get the code or NO Access....

      This way they can track, identify everyone with a 'bar code' however, what about the 20 million illegals???

      End times.
  • RE: OpenID, meet the U.S. government

    Here's my problem. You have "smart people" who use passwords like their birthday or spouses name. Allowing people to use their username/password from Paypal will be like kicking open the door for identity theft. *thumbs up* :/
  • And, we need to make it so you can not reset accounts and gain control of

    somebody's identity.

    Remember Sarah Palin??
    • Actually, I try not to

  • Openid downsides

    One issue that openID does NOT do is gaurantee that you are
    who you say you are. In order for that to happen you need to
    have a federated authentication system. Systems like
    Shibbolith can do that, and they can be integrated with
  • Why should i trust openid?

    Can someone please explain to me why i should trust OpenID?
    • You do not have to trust OpenID

      You do not have to trust any particular OpenID provider -- that's the beauty of it.
  • Fascism

    Pick your favorite large corporation to store all your personal data, and you're off to see the Government. If you'd rather not use one of said large corporations, you're not off to see the Government at all.

    This is disgusting.
    • No, not fascism! You completely misunderstand!

      OpenID is the exact OPPOSITE of fascism! It is decentralized. You can set up your OWN OpenID server, if you do not trust any of the other OpenID providers.

      This is what makes OpenID so brilliant!
  • Cuts both ways

    Just about any ID system has countervailing effects: easier to use also means easier to hack, and if more sites are using one system, then it's easier for the consumer to remember just one ID, but if someone gains illicit access, then they gain it for a wider set of sites.

    Do I care if government requires a real ID of some sort to use websites? No, because you would have to have that in any case for most in-person transactions. The web should be no different. But it does have to be nominally as secure as any in-person or paper-based transaction would be, especially in transactions like IRS stuff, regulatory filings, and business-to-government reporting.
    terry flores
  • RE: OpenID, meet the U.S. government

    For any ZDNet readers looking to facilitate registrations, simplify logins, and create better user experiences, check out the OpenID deployment information at the OpenID Foundation website:
  • Outstanding

    This is outstanding. OpenID is the only current feasible, decentralized replacement for the absurd proliferation of passwords we all endure. The only stumbling block is that web sites need to be modified slightly to support OpenID.

    If the government is supporting OpenID, then maybe we have a chance that it will reach a critical mass of acceptance.
  • RE: OpenID, meet the U.S. government

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  • RE: OpenID, meet the U.S. government

    I think that's a great idea..glad to know that the govt is progressive.

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