Time to Get a Bigger Table: Highlights from this week’s White House NSTIC Event

As the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group called for in the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace prepares to launch, we’ve been keenly focused on engaging a broader range of stakeholders.

The White House aided the cause on May 23 – hosting over sixty private sector leaders to sound the call for engagement as we work together to raise the level of trust online.

There was one clear outcome at the end of the event:  We’re going to need a bigger table.

More than half of the attending firms stood up and pledged to engage on NSTIC in the months to come; many other attendees noted that while they couldn’t personally commit their firms, they saw the value of the Identity Ecosystem and would be advocates within their companies for playing a bigger role. 

As Gartner Research VP Ian Glazer – who was among the panelists – tweeted:  “NSTIC has brought new faces to the table, people outside the exquisite echo chamber.”   The full Twitter stream from the event is captured here:  http://storify.com/iglazer/nstic-relying-party-event

The event kicked off with presentations from White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, NIST Director Pat Gallagher and Ari Schwartz from the Department of Commerce.  Attendees then had a chance to hear from a panel of their peers, as leaders from Salesforce, eBay, Aetna, Gartner and Broadridge all articulated their views on the value of NSTIC and the Identity Ecosystem. 

Gene Sperling, who is Director of the National Economic Council at the White House, offered closing remarks, commenting on the need to not look at the issue of trusted identity as simply a security or an economic one, but rather an issue that considers economic, privacy and security voices in concert with one another.  It was a message that clearly resonated with the crowd. 

Senator Mikulski eloquently raised perhaps the most important point of the event, when she noted: “if we’re going to have voluntary models, we need people to volunteer.”  NSTIC – as a voluntary, privately-led effort – depends on leaders from all sectors to participate. 

In the months to come, you and other stakeholders will also have the opportunity to pledge to engage in the creation of the Identity Ecosystem.  We expect to announce the selection of an organization to serve as the convener of the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group in the next few weeks, with an eye toward having the initial Steering Group meeting in late July. 

Learn more about NSTIC and how you can engage by subscribing to this blog, follow us on Twitter @nsticnpo, and visit our website at http://www.nist.gov/nstic/.

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