Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kantara floats voluntary-compulsory authentication for social saftey nets

NSTIC policy experiment applied to government dependents

BTC --  The Kantara Initiative paved a name and a place for themselves by bringing bank card infrastructure to US food stamp programs and general relief banking options.  Kantara's work centers on social safety nets and frameworks of anyone completely dependent on the US government for food, shelter or money.  The user population for their services has dramatically increased due to Iraq and Afghanistan war homecomings and the 2008 economic crash.  Slow job growth and unemployment has pushed many Americans into US social service systems in larger numbers.

NSTIC, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, is working with Kantara to bring an authentication credential system online for US social service recipients.  Kantara's involvement would make transactional monitoring between recipients and guarantors more convenient.  FICAM, the Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management, moved ahead in 2009 is a model for Kantara going forward, cites a recent report at Secure ID News.

"In the case of credentials, that accreditation comes from the Kantara Initiative. Kantara’s Identity Assurance Accreditation and Approval Program aims to grow identity credential services based on the four levels of assurance that are measured and validated in the U.S. Federal Identity Credential and Access Management (ICAM) trust framework.

Kantara's brand of authentication may not necessarily give government dependent publics the ability to opt out of NSTIC's authentication methods, like biometrics (fingerprints, iris scans, eye veins, DNA) using FICAM.  While NSTIC claims it will be a voluntary for users, Kantara's guarantors will promote 3rd party authentication development as an essential. This does not leave a lot of wiggle room for veterans, Medicare health care beneficiaries, student loan recipients, federal employess and anyone else who relies on the government for financial resources or benefits.

Kantara would urge more incorporation of FICAM's roadmap for agencies like FEMA to appropriate benefits. FICAM is known for its use of RFID tags in military CAC cards and biometric authentications for door access in secured Pentagon facilities.  The CAC cards are also used by military family members with low end clearances.  While FICAM may be appropriate for  government users, many have criticised it as a heavy handed security appliance on civilians. FICAM seems to makes sense in a vaccuum atmosphere that lacks individual consent and where all resources belong to the government. 

"We are seeing more involvement with the trust framework that supports FICAM in federal government.” 

Distaster relief has the ability to swift large numbers of people into federal resource dependency and nets of federated identity endorsed by federal adencies.  FEMA recently forged ahead with RFID bracelets to track those who approached the government agency for aid following Hurricane Sandy. DHS might use NSTIC in the future to administer FEMA relief benefits and regulatory compliance for laws like Real ID.

Real ID regulations plied an Enhanced Drivers Licenses [EDL] on States, like Virginia, who opted out of international compliance [WHTI] features in 2009. The Cross Sector Drivers Identity Initiative [CSDII], a voluntary NSTIC pilot, would add static biometric features to an online authenticate using Virginia drivers licenses.  CSDII, for use on a smartphone, could authenticate machine readable zones as an Enhanced Drivers License (i.e. your phone is your passport).  Eventually, government issued ID would be made interoperable or interchangeable for use in the online world using NSTIC.  Claims of anonymity would be void at ports requiring an NSTIC credential circling back to a government issued ID card.

Kantara's version of NSTIC would lock civilian service agencies into a militarized or securitized identity protectorate. If enough online companies adopt NSTIC voluntarily, transactional surveillance online could be totalitarian.  Kantara's path would be the first indicator that the US government's brand of NSTIC is less voluntary than it is compulsory.

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