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Hundreds of Federal services are available to Americans electronically, but many require some form of identity verification before an agency-to-citizen or agency-to business transaction can take place.

It takes an estimated 3 to 5 years for Federal agencies to develop electronic identity authentication systems. Duplicative agency efforts to create such systems, which do not communicate with each other, are a substantial cost burden for the government. Moreover, the public is burdened by having to complete a separate registration process (e.g., user name, password, or other electronic credential) for each agency with which they want to conduct on-line transactions.

The E-Authentication Initiative will provide a trusted and secure standards-based authentication architecture to support Federal E-Government applications and initiatives. This approach will provide a uniform process for establishing electronic identity and eliminate the need for each initiative to develop a redundant solution for the verification of identity and electronic signatures. E-Authentication’s distributed architecture will also allow citizens and businesses to use non-government issued credentials to conduct transactions with the government.

Successful implementation of E-Authentication will produce numerous benefits for the public and the Federal government. Citizens and businesses will have a secure, easy-to-use and consistent method of proving identity to the government and will be spared the burden of having to keep track of multiple sets of registration information. Federal agencies will be able to reduce authentication system development and acquisition costs and reallocate labor resources previously used to develop such systems.