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United States

New Authentication Tools to Protect Individual Privacy and Ensure That Personal Records Go Only to the Intended Recipients. (US0058)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United States Action Plan 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: An interagency team including the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Department of Commerce

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

IRM Review

IRM Report: United States End-of-Term IRM Report 2015-2017, United States Mid-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

In addition to providing protections for Federal information, including information about individuals, the government has certain obligations to give individuals the ability to review information about themselves that the government has collected. When members of the public seek information about themselves from government agencies, they traditionally submit signed statements to authenticate that they are legitimate requesters. However, as agencies move toward digitization, new approaches can digitally authenticate individuals requesting information. To improve the public’s ability to request and access information about themselves, the Administration will explore new authentication tools to enhance protection of individual privacy while providing individuals with information about themselves. An interagency team including the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Department of Commerce will work to develop new authentication tools to protect individual privacy and ensure that personal records go only to the intended recipients.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 6. Improve Individual Access to Own Information

Commitment Text:

Make it Easier for Individuals to Access Their Own Information

In addition to providing protections for Federal information, including information about individuals, the government has certain obligations to give individuals the ability to review information about themselves that the government has collected. When members of the public seek information about themselves from government agencies, they traditionally submit signed statements to authenticate that they are legitimate requesters. However, as agencies move toward digitization, new approaches can digitally authenticate individuals requesting information. To improve the public’s ability to request and access information about themselves, the Administration will explore new authentication tools to enhance protection of individual privacy while providing individuals with information about themselves. An interagency team including the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Department of Commerce will work to develop new authentication tools to protect individual privacy and ensure that personal records go only to the intended recipients.

Responsible Institutions: Office of Management and Budget and General Services Administration

Supporting Institutions: Privacy advocates and the public

Start Date: Not Specified  End Date: Not Specified

Commitment Aim

This commitment sought to streamline authentication processes across government websites, increase security, and make it easier for individuals to acquire government-held information on themselves. It aimed to digitize identity authentication tools that act as a secure single window for interacting with the government.

Status

Midterm: Not Started

The government had not started this commitment at midterm, due to a lack of funding. Pending a funding source, the government indicated that initial work on this commitment would begin in fall 2016. [91]

End of Term: Not Started

At the end of term, the IRM researcher could not verify any additional progress on this commitment with publicly available information. The IRM researcher reached out to the government on multiple occasions but was unable to communicate directly with the officials in charge of implementing this commitment. [92]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

This commitment did not open government, due to the lack of progress made.

Carried Forward?

The US government had not published its fourth national action plan at the time of writing. The government should nevertheless aim to make progress on this commitment in light of the numerous challenges that individuals face in accessing government-held information about themselves. The challenges can specifically be attributed to the wide range of identity authentication systems that government agencies employ. The government could also strive to ensure that users can not only access but also correct their personal information online.

[91] United States of America, Midterm Self-Assessment Report for the Open Government Partnership: Third Open Government National Action Plan, 2015-2017, September 2016, 8, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/USA_NAP3_self-assessment-report_20160916.pdf, consulted 2 October 2017.

[92] The IRM researcher attempted to obtain a list of potential interviewees from the government’s OGP point of contact (POC) on several distinct occasions during the drafting of this report, beginning in September 2017. In emails sent on 10 October and 24 October 2017, the IRM researcher explicitly requested that the POC make available a list of potential government interviewees to whom the researcher could speak regarding progress made on various commitments contained in the action plan. On 9 November 2017, the IRM researcher spoke via phone with the government POC and reiterated the earlier request for access to a list of potential interviewees. The IRM researcher followed up with an email to the government POC on that same day, reiterating the request for a list of interviewees, to which the POC had been receptive during the preceding phone call. The IRM researcher received no subsequent response from the government POC. Copies of the three emails referenced above are available upon request.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership