[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[FYI] Report calls PKI key to a digital U.S. government


-------------------------------- CUT --------------------------------

                    JANUARY 5, 1999 . . . 17:40 EST 

                    Report calls PKI key to a digital U.S.

                    BY HEATHER HARRELD (heather@fcw.com)

                    A fledgling technology built on public key
                    infrastructure (PKI) will be key to the
                    government's success in achieving the "digital
                    government" envisioned by the Clinton
                    administration, according to a report released

                    The report, called "Access With Trust," lays out a
                    plan for agencies to begin building a PKI
                    foundation to secure electronic transactions. It
                    also describes a partnership between the
                    government and the private sector to design and
                    build a PKI to improve the public's access to
                    government services and information, and to
                    tighten the security of unclassified government
                    information systems.

                    PKI, a framework of technology and policy
                    regarding the use of digital signatures, will be a
                    foundation to support trusted communication among
                    federal government agencies and between agencies
                    and the private sector, according to the report.

                    "We're looking at this document...as a means to an
                    end," said Richard Guida, security champion for
                    security of the Government Information Technology
                    Services Board. "The end we're trying to achieve
                    is...the appropriate use of digital signature
                    technology by federal agencies for their internal
                    transactions and their external transactions. PKI
                    is never going to jell until you apply a stimulus
                    to it. You've got to go out and use the technology
                    and maybe take a few bruises in the process."

                    The report outlines several agency pilot projects
                    testing PKI technology, including the Agriculture
                    Department's use of PKI technology to secure
                    electronic benefits transfer between the
                    department and various states.

                    Guida said the report is designed to provide
                    agencies guidance and some examples of other
                    government uses. "We don't want to have...a
                    situation where you have disparate uses of the
                    technology...that creates stovepipes," Guida said.
                    "[We are] bringing agencies together that are
                    working on this so agencies can learn from each

                    According to the report, PKI will provide four
                    security services: authentication, data integrity,
                    nonrepudiation (verification that an electronic
                    message has been sent) and confidentiality. It
                    will be designed not with a "government-only
                    approach" but as part of the evolving
                    private-sector PKI being built using commercial

                    The report was published by the Federal Public Key
                    Infrastructure Steering Committee, GITS and the
                    Office of Management and Budget. 

                    It is available online at gits.gov.

                             Mail questions to webmaster@fcw.com
                             Copyright 1999 FCW Government Technology

-------------------------------- CUT --------------------------------

See also