By Mike Spinney
July 22, 2010
COMMENTARY - Mike Spinney is a senior privacy analyst at the Ponemon
Institute, which conducts independent research on privacy, data
protection and information security policy.
The Homeland Security Department recently announced an initiative aimed
at creating a more secure system of online identification. According to
its Web site, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace
seeks to "improve cyberspace for everyone - individuals, private sector
and governments - who conducts business online."
That's certainly a noble goal. But the very existence of NSTIC begs two
very important questions: Does protecting me and my fellow citizens
while we transact business online fall within the department.s areas of
responsibility? And does DHS truly believe it can do what the private
sector, driven by a clear and compelling profit motive, has yet to
The answer to both questions is a resounding no. DHS should focus on
doing what its name implies - protecting the homeland - and resist the
urge to demote itself into the role of national cyber mall cop.
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