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Enhancing Online Security


"The Internet will not reach its full potential until users and consumers feel more confident than they do today when they go on online."

New National Program Office will aim to improve privacy, transaction security.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt announced this month plans to create a National Program Office to help foster an environment in which sensitive online transactions can be carried out with greater levels of trust.

The announcement was made January 7th, at a forum with business and academic leaders at Stanford University. The National Program Office, to be established within the Department of Commerce, would coordinate federal activities needed to implement the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC, an Obama administration initiative aimed at establishing identity solutions and privacy-enhancing technologies that will make the online environment more secure and convenient for consumers. The national office would serve as the point of contact to bring the public and private sectors together for this challenge.

"The Internet will not reach its full potential until users and consumers feel more confident than they do today when they go on online," said Secretary Locke. "A coordinated national strategy to significantly improve online trust will put e-commerce on a stronger footing. The strategy to significantly improve online trust," he said, "will engage the best minds in the field from both the public and private sectors to give people greater confidence that their personal information is safe when they engage in online transactions."

"With the full participation of industry and the general public, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace plans to nurture the development of a secure and privacy-enhancing 'identity ecosystem' for the Internet," said Mr. Schmidt. "This identity ecosystem would instill greater confidence in online transactions with less personal information being collected and stored with each transaction, lowering the risk of identity theft."

NSTIC's anticipated benefits for consumers include increased convenience, security and privacy. Businesses would enjoy new market opportunities, with the ability to deliver services and transactions previously considered too risky. Governments would be able to expand online services for constituents, so they can operate with greater efficiency and transparency; remove impediments to e-commerce; and increase public safety by bolstering the integrity of networks and systems.

The National Program Office would work with other United States Government partners to achieve NSTIC goals and with industry to identify where new standards and efforts are needed. E-commerce worldwide is estimated at ten trillion dollars online each year. The United States is committed to facilitating and protecting that commerce.

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