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US Congressmen reintroduce sweeping digital ID bill

Jul 12, 2021
In The News

A bipartisan group of U.S. congressmen have reintroduced a broad-ranging bill to develop legislation around digital identity, according to the website of Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL), the introducing member.

The ‘Improving Digital Identity Act of 2021’ will ask the House of Representatives to consider three main areas: the creation of a task force of federal, state and local representatives to develop ways for government agencies to validate and protect individuals’ identities and support interoperable tools for verification in both public and private settings.

It would call on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create a new framework of standards to guide government agencies when providing digital identity verification services.

The third area would establish a grant program within the Department of Homeland Security to allow states to upgrade the systems they use to issue drivers’ licenses and other forms of digital ID credential.

The congressmen initially introduced ‘Improving Digital Identity Act of 2020’ in September 2020. Foster announced his intention to bring up that bill at the 117th Congress at a February 2021 Policy Forum on digital ID hosted by the Better Identity Coalition, the FIDO Alliance and the ID Theft Resource Center, reports FCW.

Foster discussed the genesis of the Act and the state of U.S. digital ID in an ID2020 webinar last year.

The Better Identity Coalition is a supporter of the bill which responds to a May 2019 White House memo on improving identity management in the U.S., reports FCW. Members of the identity industry have previously expressed support.

“So many services – in banking, health care, government, and e-commerce – depend on knowing ‘who is on the other side’ of a transaction,” Jeremy Grant, Coordinator of the Better Identity Coalition, quoted on Foster’s website.  “But our old identity systems have not transitioned well to the digital world – creating friction in commerce, fueling increased fraud and theft, degrading privacy, and hindering the availability of many services online.”