National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace


The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is a U.S. government initiative aimed at improving the security and privacy of online transactions and reducing identity theft. It seeks to create an ecosystem of secure, interoperable, and privacy-enhancing identity solutions in collaboration with the private sector, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders. Ultimately, the NSTIC aims to promote increased trust and confidence in online activities by establishing more secure digital identities and authentication methods.

Key Takeaways

  1. National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is a U.S. government initiative aimed at creating a secure and privacy-enhancing online environment that enables convenient, user-friendly, and trusted online transactions.
  2. NSTIC promotes the development and adoption of an interoperable identity ecosystem, which includes Identity Providers (IDPs), Relying Parties (RPs), and digital credentials, to authenticate users and reduce the reliance on insecure usernames and passwords.
  3. The initiative intends to foster innovation, collaboration, and public-private partnerships by involving multiple stakeholders, including government agencies, private companies, non-profit organizations, and individual users, in the development and governance of this identity ecosystem.


The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is an important technology term because it represents a comprehensive approach to enhancing the security, privacy, and user experience in online transactions.

Developed by the United States government in collaboration with the private sector, the NSTIC aims to create an identity ecosystem that fosters trust among various entities involved in online activities.

This initiative is crucial for addressing the growing concerns of identity theft, cybercrime, and privacy breaches by promoting the use of reliable, secure, and user-friendly digital identities.

In doing so, the NSTIC contributes to the development of a safer and more efficient online environment, ultimately enabling individuals, businesses, and government agencies to confidently and securely interact in the digital realm.


The primary purpose of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is to enhance the security and privacy of online transactions while promoting the growth of the digital economy. This initiative was introduced by the United States government in 2011 to create a safer online environment and improve user experience, particularly for sensitive activities like banking, access to health records, or online voting.

By fostering the development of trusted online identities, NSTIC seeks to reduce the risk of identity theft, fraud, and cybersecurity threats, while also providing convenience for users by reducing the number of passwords and authentication methods they have to remember and use. NSTIC achieves its goals by promoting the creation of an Identity Ecosystem – a network of interoperable, secure, and privacy-enhancing identity solutions that are driven by both public and private sector organizations.

This ecosystem ensures that users can choose from a variety of secure and easy-to-use identity credentials, providing levels of confidence and trust for accessing various online services. To maintain the integrity of the ecosystem, NSTIC emphasizes a user-centric approach, meaning that the users have control over their personal information and are always aware of who has access to it.

Ultimately, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace aims to enable a future where individuals and businesses are able to conduct secure, efficient, and anonymous transactions online without the constant fear of identity theft or fraud.

Examples of National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is a U.S. government initiative aimed at improving the privacy, security, and convenience of sensitive online transactions through the use of trusted digital identities. Here are three real-world examples related to NSTIC:

Connect.Gov: Connect.Gov is a cloud-based solution designed to provide users with a single, secure access point to government services online. It allows citizens and businesses to use one trusted credential, such as a username and password or a digital certificate, to access multiple government websites. This system streamlines access to online services while enhancing security and reducing the need for users to remember various usernames and passwords for different government websites.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Pilots: As part of the NSTIC initiative, NIST awarded funding to numerous pilot projects aimed at developing, testing, and implementing identity management solutions that adhere to the principles of the NSTIC. These pilot projects have involved various sectors, including healthcare, financial services, and education. Examples of these pilots include:- The University of Texas at Austin’s project, aimed at creating a secure online authentication system for students to access educational resources.- Daon’s pilot project, in partnership with USAA, aimed at developing mobile biometric solutions that enable users to authenticate their identities more securely.

FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance: The FIDO Alliance is a consortium of technology companies, service providers, and government agencies working together to develop open and interoperable standards for secure authentication methods. The alliance aims to create a post-password world where users can use devices like smartphones and smart cards as trusted credentials for online services. The FIDO Alliance has developed two sets of specifications for simpler and stronger authentication: the Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) and the Universal Second Factor (U2F). These specifications align with NSTIC’s objectives by providing strong, privacy-respecting, and easy-to-use authentication solutions.


National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace FAQ

What is the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC)?

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is an initiative by the federal government of the United States to improve the privacy, security, and convenience of online transactions through the development of an Identity Ecosystem.

What is the purpose of NSTIC?

The primary goal of NSTIC is to create a more secure and trustworthy online environment, providing users with a variety of secure, user-friendly ways to authenticate their identities online and reducing reliance on insecure username and password systems.

What is the Identity Ecosystem envisioned by NSTIC?

The Identity Ecosystem is an online environment where individuals, organizations, and devices can trust each other through secure digital identities. The ecosystem will provide users with a choice of secure credentials to authenticate their identity, with the goal of enhancing privacy, reducing fraud, and simplifying online transactions.

How will NSTIC benefit the general public?

NSTIC aims to provide people with more secure and convenient ways to authenticate their identities online, reducing the likelihood of identity theft and fraud. By implementing stronger authentication methods, NSTIC will help improve user privacy, promote innovation in online services, and increase the security of online transactions.

What are the guiding principles of NSTIC?

NSTIC is built around four guiding principles: privacy, choice, interoperability, and security. The approach aims to ensure that any solutions developed under NSTIC are privacy-enhancing, user-centric, and compatible with a variety of technologies, while also providing robust security.


Related Technology Terms

  • Identity Ecosystem Framework
  • Online Authentication
  • Digital Identity Management
  • Privacy-Enhancing Technologies
  • Cybersecurity Infrastructure

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