Grant: Pilots move NSTIC from theory to practice
The National Institute of Standards and Technology awarded Sept. 20 five pilot projects worth more than $9 million in grant funding to demonstrate identity solutions under the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC.
The pilot proposals were selected among 27 finalists from an original pool of 186 submissions, and span multiple sectors such as health care, retail, banking and higher education.
"There's a common theme among the five pilots, which is they went beyond some of the implications that simply said 'We've got a great idea for a product,'" said Jeremy Grant, senior executive advisor for identity management and head of the NSTIC National Program Office.
"The awardees actually came in with specific proposals to take that product and work with a number of partners to actually deploy it," he said. "These will make something happen in the marketplace that otherwise would not."
All five pilots address identity in different ways and federal agencies will want to keep an eye on these emerging solutions, said Grant. Agencies have largely been supportive of moving applications online in a way that aligns with the White House strategy. Unfortunately, there haven't been a wide array of credentialing and authentication options out there for agencies to use, he said.
"We'll be looking for opportunities where agencies could consider adopting some of these solutions," said Grant.
Three of the five pilots will test entirely new types of privacy-enhancing security technology. These technologies limit the personally identifiable information transacted during authentication--allowing end users to pick and chose what identity attributes are shared, said Grant. He added that this is the first time such technology will be used in a commercial setting.
The pilots also work with a variety of parties that rely on identity solutions. For example, the $1.6 million pilot for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators to create a cross sector digital identity initiative will include participation from from the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Biometric Signature ID, CA Technologies, Microsoft and AT&T.
Grant says in addition to the participants already listed for the five pilots NIST will soon announce the addition of at least one major bank, a mobile telecom provider and one or two "Internet titans."
The program office also announced that the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group, the public-private partnership with the lead governance role for NSTIC, will hold its second plenary meeting Oct. 29-30 in Dulles, Va.
The pilots allow the steering group to move from looking at these issues in theory to using them in practice. The findings in the pilots will inform the work of the steering group, said Grant. What's more pilot members are required to formally report to and be involved in the steering group.
"These two efforts really complement each other," he said.
For NIST's part, the grants are actually cooperative agreements, so the pilots will necessitate greater involvement from NIST to make sure the programs are hitting the necessary milestones, said Grant.
- see the NIST press release