A Driver’s License for the Internet?

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(New York Times) — WHO’S afraid of Internet fraud?  Consumers who still pay bills via snail mail. Hospitals leery of making treatment records available online to their patients. Some state motor vehicle registries that require car owners to appear in person — or to mail back license plates — in order to transfer vehicle ownership.  But the White House is out to fight cyberphobia with an initiative intended to bolster confidence in e-commerce.  The plan, called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace and introduced earlier this year, encourages the private-sector development and public adoption of online user authentication systems. Think of it as a driver’s license for the Internet. The idea is that if people have a simple, easy way to prove who they are online with more than a flimsy password, they’ll naturally do more business on the Web. And companies and government agencies, likeSocial Security or the I.R.S., could offer those consumers faster, more secure online services without having to come up with their own individual vetting systems.

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