New cards may make user IDs, passwords obsolete

The hodgepodge of user names and passwords that federal employees must memorize to access computers and other services may become obsolete thanks to new governmentwide identification card requirements, a federal official said Thursday.

David Temoshok, director of the General Services Administration's Identity Policy and Management office, said the high-tech ID cards required for all federal employees and designated contractors under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 could simplify login procedures. The mandate requires agencies to distribute the new cards to all employees and contractors by October 2008. Temoshok made the comments at the Homeland Defense Journal Conference on credentialing and identity assurance.

"You log on to your computer with your user ID and password. You log on to Web sites with a user ID and password. You log on to your laptop with a user ID and password," Temoshok said. "Gee, we have got lots of user IDs and passwords. It is the vision that those existing authentication systems, which are typically user ID and password, will use different technologies."

Temoshok said the cards will verify employees' identities electronically at building entrances and on computers. Agencies will have to purchase card readers that meet the technical requirements of HSPD 12. But in the end, they could save money since they will no longer have to manage the ID and password system, he said.

"Agencies ought to be able to take advantage of the [identity management] tool that they're implementing," Temoshok said. "That's all part of the infrastructure that we're enabling the government to put in place."

Before employees use the new ID cards, agencies first must verify the recipients' identities and have complete background investigations on file. This process has sparked concerns among groups of federal employees.

GSA is launching about 400 enrollment sites nationwide for the 42 agencies that have signed up for its shared service offering. Agencies that will receive their cards through GSA include the Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Energy and Treasury departments, the Office of Personnel Management, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Postal Service and the Federal Communications Commission.

Twenty-five smaller agencies had signed up with the Interior Department's National Business Center for help fulfilling the mandate, but the department has since discontinued the program because of cost considerations and will consider using GSA as a shared service provider.

The State Department is providing new identity cards to agencies that work internationally and the Defense Department is serving the military's needs. Twelve agencies have decided to build their own ID card infrastructure, including NASA, which has concerns about placing employee data on outsourced systems.

Other agencies that are implementing the system on their own include the Homeland Security, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Education and Labor departments, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Social Security Administration.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.