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Federal Funding Opportunity Solicits Projects That Support Online Privacy

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is soliciting applications for funding pilot privacy-enhancing technologies that embrace and advance the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. NSTIC seeks to promote secure, user-friendly ways to give individuals and organizations confidence in their online interactions.

NIST anticipates making awards in the range of approximately $750,000 to $1,500,000 per year, per project, for up to two years. The projects should demonstrate or deploy new solutions that either do not exist or are not widely adopted in the marketplace today.

These are the fifth in a series of pilot project grants NIST has funded in support of the strategy since 2012 and the first to emphasize projects focused specifically on privacy. NSTIC's guiding principles are that identity solutions should be privacy-enhancing and voluntary, secure and resilient, interoperable and cost-effective and easy-to-use.

"In the marketplace for identity verification services, the privacy-enhancing guiding principle of the NSTIC has proven to be a significant technical challenge," said Naomi Lefkovitz, senior privacy policy advisor at NIST. "There is a broad opportunity for commercially viable solutions to tackle these privacy challenges. We hope this funding will spur development of projects that move privacy-enhancing technologies from theory to practice." 

Examples of projects might include creating and demonstrating technical standards or solutions that minimize the availability of information about individuals in federated identity systems, in which multiple identity systems are connected together. For example, systems would allow organizations to confirm a user's identity, without permitting the system to get access to more information about that user than necessary. Or a project could reduce the risk that an individual credential user's transactions could be tracked.

NIST will hold a webinar on April 15, 2015, to provide general information regarding NSTIC, to offer general guidance on preparing applications and to answer questions. Applications are due by Thursday, May 28, 2015. The complete announcement can be found at Grants.gov.

Released March 31, 2015, Updated January 8, 2018