Identity Ecosystem Steering Group, Inc. (IDESG)

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While the NSTIC was issued by the government, it calls for the private sector to lead the crafting of  a trust framework that can replace passwords, allow individuals to prove online that they are who they claim to be, and enhance privacy. The Identity Ecosystem Steering Group (IDESG) is the private sector-led organization created to achieve this mission by administering the development of policy, standards, and accreditation processes for the Identity Ecosystem Framework.

Comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders—from regulated industries and IT infrastructure developers to consumer advocates, educational organizations, and civil liberties groups – the IDESG utilizes a broad structure of working committees to contribute to the goal of building an Identity Ecosystem Framework (IEF) that can best meet all stakeholder needs. With the end goal of creating a trustmark that represents safe, secure, and privacy-enhancing identity credentials, IDESG work products include the development of core baseline requirements for trusted identity within the IEF, a compliance and conformance program, and operational rules. 

The organization is free and open to all stakeholders—industry experts, advocates, individuals, and any others—interested in crafting a framework for identity solutions. Decisions about standards, policies, and business rules are made by the members through a consensus process controlled by the general membership. The IDESG is an important forum for stakeholders to convene and collaborate on solutions to enable the Identity Ecosystem, a true example of a private/public partnership working to solve the very real problem of online identity management facing consumers and businesses today. Membership in the IDESG tops 200 organizations and is truly diverse, with government and industry members representing more than 12 countries.

The IDESG has begun transitioning into a self-sustaining organization; in late 2013, IDESG formally voted to incorporate as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, enabling it to start raising funds on its own and transition away from government support. In 2014, NIST awarded IDESG, Inc. a follow-on grant to partially support the organization’s work for the next three years; the award requires IDESG to raise a significant portion of its operating budget in years two and three. Members are also working toward establishing an initial IEF by the summer of 2015.

As recognized in the NSTIC, successful establishment of the IEF by the IDESG is critical to the ongoing successful development of online commerce, public safety online, government efficiency, and effective and efficient communication among and between individuals, the private sector, and the public sector. For these reasons there is an urgent and compelling need for NIST to support continued work of the IDESG. Only the private sector has the ability to build and operate the complete Identity Ecosystem, and the final success of NSTIC depends on private-sector leadership and innovation.

For more information about the government's participation in the IDESG, contact the NSTIC NPO Outreach Coordinator, Kristina Rigopoulos, at kristina.rigopoulos@nist.gov.

For more information on the IDESG, click here.