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Why Government Managed Internet IDs are Bad

Updated on December 21, 2016
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


There are several proposals to set up a government managed internet ID, an "identity ecosystem" or simplified sign on system that the government can manage or track. While the federal government considers it a matter of convenience and describes it as akin to a driver's license, there are several reasons why a federally managed online identity system is a bad idea.

Information security vanishes when you give a large, snooping government all the keys to IT system.
Information security vanishes when you give a large, snooping government all the keys to IT system. | Source

Reasons Against a Federally Managed Online Identity System

  • Given the frequency and severity of leaks on matters ranging from international diplomatic cables to embarrassing pictures, it is not wise to rely upon a government database to manage the internet identification and authentication for American users.
  • Trying proving that you are you and that your ID should be reset after your account credentials are hacked or discovered by malware. After all, the federal government already does nothing about millions of illegal aliens using American citizens’ Social Security numbers to work illegally, often undiscovered by the citizen until they cannot file for disability benefits, fail a background check or run into tax trouble – and the IRS happily sat back and collected the taxes from multiple people with multiple jobs for years.
  • There will be little to no accountability for the information tied to the centralized internet ID. If a politically connected person wishes to embarrass someone else, simply pull up their access history. Then leak embarrassing information such as accessing fetish websites or information contrary to their image.
  • Centralized identification methods create a potential authentication nightmare. Hello, Big Brother! A centralized internet ID provides instant tracking of a user’s online actions and behavior. Why petition records from a dozen ISPs or seize someone’s computer when the centralized internet ID provides this information already?
  • If the government accidentally deletes your accounts or disables it, you cannot do anything that requires the centralized ID to access it. Unlike technical support at private companies, your internet access will be managed by the same government that created the classically inept and unresponsive Department of Motor Vehicles and Social Security Administration.

  • Your right to manage the use of your identity online will be less than that managed via a private entity such as Facebook. If the government says that a federal identity system is required to access websites such as Social Security, unemployment benefits or even to contact your Congressperson, you will not have a right to do anything else. Nor can you control how the information collected from your activities are shared, either with other government agencies or public-private partnerships that may use the data for marketing or political purposes.
  • A federally managed identity system could end access to websites more stealthily than seizing the web domain. Simply turn off credentialing to the website. Now no one can log into that site, but it appears to be a technical glitch instead of over-reach by the government.
  • A government unwise enough to give Chinese citizens in China root level access to the OPM database, allowing them to copy the entire Office of Personnel Management database of four million current and past federal employees, as well as the entire database of personnel with security clearance, cannot be trusted to protect our personal data linked to government issued web ID.


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