Recently NIST joined the FIDO Alliance under its newly-created government membership class. The FIDO Alliance was formed in July of 2012 and aims to bring easy-to-use, privacy-enhancing authentication devices to the consumer mass market. FIDO-based credentials are designed to provide an anonymous key without any publicly available serial number or central authority. The FIDO 1.0 specifications allow for strong, multifactor credentials, a major point of focus in the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.
NIST, which is home to the National Program Office for implementing the NSTIC, is committed to bringing stronger authentication to individuals – which makes this new partnership a logical and exciting next step toward achieving its mission. “We are thrilled that FIDO is welcoming government participation in this industry-led initiative, and we look forward to supporting the development of future specifications. We see this as a great opportunity to advance work on both sides and to bring NIST’s capabilities to the FIDO table,” said Mike Garcia, acting director of the NSTIC NPO.
Being a member of the FIDO Alliance will help government strengthen its role as an early adopter of new identity solutions. “I can see a day in the near future when some consumers will start to insist on leveraging a FIDO-based authenticator to access government services through Connect.Gov,” added Paul Grassi, NSTIC standards and technology lead. This partnership will also support the work of the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group (IDESG) as the goals of each organization are extremely complementary. The IDESG is a private sector-led organization developing a framework of requirements and policies—leveraging existing industry standards—for interoperability across the Identity Ecosystem.
Executive director of the FIDO Alliance Brett McDowell said, “Cross-sector collaboration is vital to wide adoption of FIDO specifications, and we consider NIST an ideal government member. There is little doubt that the NSTIC, and the work of the NSTIC NPO, have had a direct and positive influence on several of the contributors in the FIDO Alliance, and I’m optimistic about the great things we can accomplish working together directly to promote stronger authentication.”
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