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Collaborative Research on Digital Identity in Public Benefits Delivery

Empowering state agency leadership to weigh both access and security In delivering vital public benefits.

About the project

NIST, along with the Digital Benefits Network (DBN) at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University, and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) announced the launch of a two-year-long collaborative research and development project. This project works to adapt NIST’s digital identity guidelines to better support the implementation of public benefits policy and delivery while balancing security, privacy, equity, and usability. This work is the result of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).

The project will rely on the tried-and-true process of robust community engagement to develop voluntary resources with the aim of garnering input from a variety of voices (including federal partners, state benefit program administrators, state IT and cybersecurity leaders, digital identity experts, technologists, advocates, and those with direct experience navigating the U.S. public benefit landscape). At the conclusion of the project, the collaboration will yield a voluntary community profile of NIST’s Digital Identity Guidelines (Special Publication 800-63) to support and empower practitioners and public sector leaders in evaluating the necessity and degree of authentication and identity-proofing practices in benefits delivery. 

NIST, DBN, and CDT recognize that agencies face significant challenges in protecting beneficiary information and ensuring the integrity of their programs (while also noting the urgent need for clear, comprehensive resources for state benefits-administering agencies as they adopt authentication and identity-proofing technologies). Appropriately balancing access and security-- while taking into account nuanced program circumstances and populations-- is vital to meaningfully improving public benefits and delivery.

Read the News Release:

Contact us

Email us about this project: benIDprofile [at] (benIDprofile[at]georgetown[dot]edu) 
Email us about SP 800-63: dig-comments [at] (dig-comments[at]nist[dot]gov)

Follow us on X: @NISTcyber

Created May 28, 2024, Updated June 10, 2024