U.S. Postal Service pilots cloud-based authentication service similar to online credential exchange launched in Canada last year
Toronto-based authentication specialist SecureKey Inc. has won a $15 million contract to help the United States Postal Service (USPS) build a cloud-based authentication service that would allow people to use their existing online credentials to access government services through the Internet.
“This first of its kind in the U.S., the service is expected to spur broader federal acceptance of approved third-party credentials of varying strengths and types, from simple user names and passwords to Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards,” a statement from SecureKey said.
The Canadian government has been operating a similar system developed by SecureKey for almost a year.
The SecureKey Concierge was launched in November last year and has logged more than one million transactions. It allowed Canadians to use their bank authentication credentials to access online services from the Canadian government. Three of the country’s’ largest banks, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank and TD Bank Group were the initial trusted sign-in partners.
The service is part of Canada’s Cyber Authentication Renewal initiative. Users do not need passwords on personal information such as name, address and birth dates to use the exchange. A special feature of the program prevents the trusted sign-in partners from knowing which government service is being accessed by the user and the government is not aware which sign-in partner is being used in the transaction.
The FCCX is an integral component President Barack Obama’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) and the federal government’s policies and procedures under its Identity, Credential and Access Management (ICAM) program.
SecureKey was chose for the project because of its innovative federated authentication platform, the SecureKey bridge.net Exchange, according to Andre Boysen, chief marketing officer of the firm. This cloud-based system service enables the credential exchange to “cost-effectively broker user credential management capabilities” with the need to build an authentication infrastructure.
The USPS said the FCCX pilot project will begin this fall. Other agencies such as the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration and the Department of Education are also involved in the developing requirements for the pilot.