FIDO Welcomes First Government Members

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Continuing in its recent streak of announcing high profile new members, the FIDO Alliance today welcomed its two first government members: NIST from the United States  and the United Kingdom Office of the Cabinet. The new members are the first to join under the Government Class membership, which was introduced simultaneously.

According to FIDO, the new class of membership was created to address appeals from government agencies wanting to be directly involved in the Alliance. Dustin Ingalls, FIDO president, positions the inclusion of government agencies as the next logical step in the consortium’s effort to move away from passwords.

“This will enable governments around the world to contribute their unique needs and perspectives to the next developments in FIDO standards,” says Ingalls. “We welcome our first government members and look forward to increased participation in this new membership class. We look forward to working with them to develop universal standards for strong authentication that are more secure, private, and easier-to-use than passwords.”

FIDO’s executive director, Brett McDowell adds, “Like our core group of global business stakeholders, government agencies around the world have particular interests in and requirements for strong authentication to both secure their own applications, and to meet their increasing focus as policy makers to improve cybersecurity overall. Governments can often influence market acceptance of new information security technology, both as a significant user of the technology themselves, as well as policy maker and regulator.”

NIST is home to the National Program Office (NPO) responsible for implementing NSTIC – the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace – and as such is a natural fit for FIDO, now that government agencies have a place at the Alliance. NSTIC is guided by principles similar to those that drive FIDO such as interoperability, ease of use, security and privacy.

Mike Garcia, acting director of the NSTIC NPO comments, “We are thrilled that FIDO is welcoming government participation in this industry-led initiative, and we look forward to supporting the development of future specifications. We see this as a great opportunity to advance work on both sides and to bring NIST’s capabilities to the FIDO table.”

The UK Office of the Cabinet is also dedicated to a passwordless future, with it’s Identity Assurance Program aiming for the same goals: a secure and easy way to access government services online. Janet Hughes, of the Identity Assurance Program expressed excitement for the industry first, saying: “We are delighted to have joined our international colleagues in the FIDO Alliance and we’re looking forward to participating in the Alliance in future.”

FIDO has now put out a call for other government agencies interested in joining the Alliance to contact the organization through its official website.