From: FierceGovernmentIT

By Molly Bernhart Walker

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC,  steering group met for the first time Aug. 15 and 16, marking the official  formation of the group and a major milestone in NSTIC implementation.

“This convening of the identity ecosystem steering group really represented  the handing of the baton off to the private sector from the government side,”  said Jeremy Grant, National Institute of Standards and Technology’s senior  executive advisor for identity management.

The steering group, which is open to anyone, “exceeded our greatest  expectations,” said Grant. The Chicago event drew more than 800 registrants,  including about 250 unaffiliated individuals, over 330 different companies and  organizations, and representatives from the United Kingdom, Australia, the  European Union, New Zealand, Canada and Japan.

During the meeting half of the group’s 16 management council members were  elected–the remainder failed to gain a majority vote and participated in a  run-off that concluded Aug. 21. The group also approved for 90 days a draft  charter and draft bylaws to be reviewed by a task force, said Grant. The group  will likely next hold a meeting Oct. 29 and 30 in Washington, D.C. to ratify a  permanent charter, a set of bylaws and provide updates from the working  groups.

The working groups will do most of the real work of NSTIC implementation,  said Grant. Close to a dozen different committees, focusing on topics such as  standards, policy and privacy coordination, met for the first time at the  meeting.

“They’re really ready to get working right away. There were lots of emails  over the weekend saying ‘Who are the members of my working group? Is there an  email list set up so I can contact them?’ There was a lot of energy,” said  Grant.

Among the most exciting committees is the privacy coordinating committee,  which attracted about 40 participants. The committee “attracted people beyond  the traditional privacy advocates, but also the people playing the role of chief  privacy officer in some major Fortune 500 companies,” said Grant.

“The conversation really focused on how that group can really be a meeting  point where a lot of different views on privacy can be discussed and represented  with the common goal of building privacy into the identity ecosystem from the  get-go,” he said.

Moving forward, in-person NSTIC meetings will be less important as more work  will be done in the working groups. The national program office will also be  taking on a diminished role in the initiative, said Grant. Now that  private-sector leadership has been elected and group is a .org “our role within  the steering group will really shift to being just one of many stakeholders,” he  said.

“I think you’ll see us put out a lot of different whitepapers for discussion  purposes,” said Grant. “We’re looking to be someone who can encourage and  facilitate progress in the private sector.”

The program office will still play a large role with the NSTIC pilot program,  however. In early- to mid-September the office will announce the winners for the  first round of NSTIC pilot grants, said Grant. The federal  funding opportunity NIST issued in February received 186 applications, which  Grant’s team has whittled down to 27 finalists.

“It’s shaping up to be a really exciting and innovative set of projects that  we think will have an ability to really help shape the marketplace,” said  Grant.