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The Get out of Hell card?

Interested in playing it?

Today starts your chance. The group that will try to build the pieces, standards and policies of an infrastructure that could put passwords on a shelf in the Computer History Museum is holding its historic first meeting.

The Internet Ecosystem Steering Group for the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is convening in Chicago (and online) and the opening line of its Workplan Outline is simple:

"Imagine if you could arrive at a website already holding a secure credential for authentication - eliminating the need to create yet another username and password."

The goal - eliminate the word "imagine." But the process for doing so is difficult.

The considerations include privacy, security, interoperability, accountability, liability and how to build that into digital infrastructure.

The work begins in the context of hundreds of millions of passwords stolen online in the past seven months from A(pple) to Z(appos).

Gaming the username and password system is no longer a game, it's more like a joke.

What NSTIC represents is an opportunity to create a federated system of identity providers, relying parties, private-sector vendors, and confident end-users that will form a solid, credible authentication and authorization layer for the Internet.

Passwords haven't set the bar very high, but the outcome has to clear it by a mile.

Success is far from certain. Critics abound. But many argue this is the best chance on the table.

Last month, Bob Blakley, director and head of information security innovation at Citi, told the audience at the Cloud Identity Summit that today's NSTIC meeting (and the overall NSTIC goal) is their "chance to do something dramatic in your lifetime."

If NSTIC is a dog, get out there and prove it. Or help determine why NSTIC is the answer.

The two-day meeting is intended to ratify NSTIC's by-laws and charter. In addition, management council delegates, a plenary chair and a management council chair will be elected; and plenary standing committees and working groups will be launched.

The morning session of the meeting looked more like sausage making. But that isn't a total surprise. (The live stream in here.)

It's a slow start, but an important step.

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