A dedicated nationwide public safety broadband network based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology will have unique cybersecurity capabilities and features due to public safety’s operational environment and requirements. One significant public safety requirement is the ability to know the identity of a device on the network as well as who is using the device since it may be shared by multiple users. Being able to know the user’s identity, role, and attributes will allow the nationwide public safety broadband network to optimize the performance of their network and ensure access services and information is appropriately controlled. PSCR, a joint program between The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and The National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA), is sponsored by FirstNet to conduct multifaceted research in several areas, including identity management. PSCR is providing FirstNet with insight into existing commercial and government identity management solutions, gaps in standards, specifications, best practices, effective deployment and integration strategies, and technical barriers to adoption.
AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH
PSCR has access to diverse expertise in cybersecurity through NIST’s Information Technology Laboratory’s (ITL’s) Computer Security Division, Applied Cybersecurity Division, and National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) program. By leveraging this expertise, PSCR addresses FirstNet’s identity management needs by:
- Reviewing relevant identity management standards, specifications, and best practices to identify gaps
- Researching existing commercial and government identity management solutions and how they might be leveraged by FirstNet
- Engaging early pubic safety LTE builders to identify public safety user attributes
- Identifying effective deployment and integration strategies for a federated identity management and attribute ecosystem
- Highlight where identity management policies need to be developed or modified to support public safety
VALUE TO PUBLIC SAFETY
The ability of public safety users to effectively conduct their mission by having the appropriate access to the nationwide public safety broadband network services and information based on their identity, roles, and attributes. This research will enable FirstNet to effectively identify users and devices to provide appropriate access to and optimize performance of their network.