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Obama administration lays out new ID verification system

May 12, 2011 Brian Bradley

Protecting consumers' data from identity thieves is one of the most important aspects of any business' day-to-day operations. With the growth of the ecommerce sector, many consumers have found themselves at risk of having sensitive information compromised by those who want to use the information for personal gain. If a customer is unable to feel comfortable with the security level when placing an order, then he or she will likely look elsewhere when making a purchase. In an effort to make identity protection easier for internet users, the Obama administration recently laid out a plan to create a secure system to store information and make sure it doesn't get into the wrong hands. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace will allow users to keep all information in one place and be able to get the items or services they want faster and in a more secure way. In order to sign up, users will be able to use a personal electronic device to create a single digital password that will allow them to give proof of identity in a faster way, without having to go through the normal means of doing so. "By making online transactions more trustworthy and better protecting privacy, we will prevent costly crime, we will give businesses and consumers new confidence, and we will foster growth and untold innovation. That's why this initiative is so important for our economy," said President Barack Obama The plan was applauded by many in the industry thanks to the input it would receive from the firms involved. In an interview with E-Commerce Times, Mark MacCarthy, vice president for public policy at the Software and Information Industry Association, said that his group strongly supported the plan because "it provides the benefits of competition and the incentive for innovation." Many companies have faced serious consequences for not keeping customers' data secure. In one recent case, 77 million of Sony's PlayStation Network users had their information exposed and an additional 25 million users of the Sony Online Entertainment Network had their information taken, including at least 12,000 users who have had their credit card numbers exposed. The head of PlayStation, Kazuo Hirai, was put in the position of apologizing to the users affected by the breach and said that the firm would work to solve the issue.