9/17/09: Federal Government websites to allow users to login with Yahoo/Google/Paypal IDs!
Hey Math 120 students! First of all, I want to thank you guys for listening to our little presentation in class yesterday. The fact that you’re here reading this means that you found the site & blackboard course, so we’re off to a good start! Now, to the article:
Regardless of who you voted for in the 2008 presidential election, it was clear that during his campaign, Barack Obama’s camp was quick to make use of current web trends. With his campaign’s support of Web 2.0 trends and social networking, it was clear that his administration would bring us one of the tech-savviest governments yet.
In an effort to create a better interaction between government and citizens, the U.S. Government has announced that it will make use of two popular login standards on their websites: OpenID & Information Cards. According to Micheal Calore from Wired.com,
“Under the new program, which will go into effect in the coming weeks, people will be able to sign in, request information, participate in forums and build user profiles on the government’s websites without having to set up a new user account. Anyone will be able to interact with the government sites using credentials provided to them by Yahoo, Google, AOL, VeriSign or PayPal, among others.”
This means that rather than having to go through the hassle of registering a new account and creating a user profile on a government website, citizens will be able to log in using information they already have, such as their Gmail account information. Additionally, because multiple government websites will support this new standard, you won’t have to create multiple accounts to interact with different branches of the government.
Now, if you’re sitting there wondering, “with this information, couldn’t the government track what I do on the internet?” You have a valid cause for concern. Luckily, the people from OpenID already thought of that. Again, according to Michael Calore from Wired,
“These companies have undergone a certification process — designed by the Information Card Foundation, the OpenID Foundation and the federal government — that guarantees certain privacy safeguards. For instance, the sites have to use SSL to handle logins, and they have to provide pseudonymous identifying information so the government can’t correlate user identities (and track a single user’s behavior) across multiple agency websites.”
To put that point simply, when you are logging into a government website using the information from your Google account, your login credentials are matched against Google’s records, not the government’s. This means that users will have the option to share as much, or as little information as they choose. One of the board members of OpenID, Chris Messina, had this to say about security: “Using OpenID, if you don’t want to reveal any information about who you are, you are completely pseudonymous.”
So, with the added convenience of having a user account that already works on government websites, do you guys think that participation in the interaction between government and citizens will be more widespread? Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree, and if you liked or disliked this article! Also, don’t forget to take your quiz! You’ll need to do that to receive extra credit!
Thanks for reading!
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