NSTIC set to hand out $2.5 million to direct ID effort

The government-led digital ID strategy, NSTIC, will hit its most significant milestone to date this month when it names a private organization to run its steering group and hands it $2.5 million in funding.

The organization driving the government-led digital identity strategy known as NSTIC said Monday it will name in the next few weeks a private organization that will shepherd the overall plan toward completion.

The move represents a significant milestone in the effort to create an "identity ecosystem" that provides secure identities for online transactions while limiting the disclosure of personal information. The system calls for both public and private accredited identity providers and a choice of identity credentials.

On Aug. 13, the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group for the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) will hold its first in-person meeting, according to an announcement Monday by NIST, which heads NSTIC's national program office.

An email distributed by Naomi Lefkovitz, senior privacy policy advisor for NIST, said NSTIC, created in April 2011 by the Obama Administration, would soon award a 24-month, $2.5 million grant to a private organization that will lead the Aug. 13 meeting of the Steering Group, which NSTIC officials have repeatedly called the “long pole in the tent.”

While the government will fund the grant, a private sector organization will run the Steering Group and operate from a .org domain on the Internet.

The organization is a sort of oversight committee that provides secretarial, administrative and logistical support to the Steering Group. The organization that wins the grant will remain neutral and will not be a voting member of the Steering Group.

The Steering Group itself will be made up of 14 sub-groups each with a representative on a management council. The number of participants in the steering group is not restricted.

The Steering Group will create policies and standards for an “identity ecosystem framework” as described by the NSTIC Charter.  

The Steering Group will adopt and establish standards, develop and maintain policies, develop and maintain processes, and develop and maintain operating procedures.

According to the NSTIC charter, organizations eligible to lead the Steering Group include accredited higher education institutions, non-profits and commercial organizations located in the U.S.

NSTIC has not announced finalists for the Steering Group grant.

The Steering Group is the second major milestone in the past three months for NSTIC, which appears to be hitting its stride. In April, NSTIC selected finalists for its pilot program and said it would commit $10 million to the program.

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