Today, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra is announcing the first pilot for its Open identity initiative. The pilot will support both OpenID and Information Card technologies. Initially, it will be conducted by the Center for Information Technology (CIT), National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other agencies. Over time, over 500 governmental web sites may become Open ID relying parties, potentially, creating one of the largest federated identity network.
Bien sur, VeriSign and the PIP will participate to the pilot as Open ID authentication services. This means that your VeriSign PIP ID will be accepted across participating federal Web sites. Saying that we are proud of being a part of this important announcement would be an understatement. The open identity initiative is a crucial step in President Obama's mandate for open citizen participation on key society issues such as health care, ecology and energy.
The goal is as bold as it is audacious. By embracing open and distributed identity systems, the US government is taking a resolute step towards turning the Web into an organizing engine for participative civic action. Identity is foundational. Making it easy for users to register and participate in government Web sites is smart. Removing obstacle to participation by allowing citizens to manage their digital identity through independent service providers of their choice is inspired. Yes, the tone is definitely right. Civic participation should be based on principles as open as is the Internet that enables it.
User centric identities for a citizen centric Internet? It certainly feels very right to me.