MO is leading the way in providing the highest level of digital identity assurance within federal agencies.* In July 2023, MO led a workshop with NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), on behalf of Veteran Affairs, to identify the most secure form in person identity verification for Veterans. 


NIST has provided digital identity guidelines for federal agencies on best practices for regulating digital identity services and ensuring constituents’ identity and data are protected. NIST 800-63 provides guidance based on the risk threshold that a federal agency, the trusted referee, has and what is required to meet the different levels of assurance. This means that NIST 800-63 offers ways for agencies that require different levels of security to understand how to implement the appropriate assurance for identity proofing. 


What MO and federal agencies have recognized is that NIST seeks opportunities to collaborate in order to refine NIST 800-63 guidelines. This collaboration is an opportunity for the public sector to strengthen the guidance on identity assurance and protection. Currently, NIST 800-63 is working on its fourth revision. 


During the workshop in July, participants were guided through a potential prototype of an in person proofing service. NIST experts and Adoption team members, Michael Antiporta and Sofia Kirkman, engaged in a discussion to understand what touch points in the service enabled a satisfactory threshold of assurance. By partnering with NIST, MO was able to identify the risk and decisions that needed to be made for the in person proofing service to be successful and secure. MO also discovered opportunities to explore alternative forms of identification that would alleviate the burdens on Veterans to verify with NIST’s insights. For example, Veteran Health Insurance Cards emerged as a potential option for identification with proof of address. About 4 million Veteran Health Insurance cards are in circulation and can ensure that identification does not become the roadblock to a Veteran’s identity being recognized and honored. 


Federal agencies will continue to navigate the need to increase protection for its constituents. Agencies like MO are modeling how to best engage with the landscape of digital identity. By collaborating with NIST MO is able to advocate for how digital identity services that can better meet constituents where they are, while still maintaining the strongest protection. This in turn, can inform NIST 800-63 guideline revisions to protect both the humanity and the identity of those it is meant to serve. 


*Digital identity assurances are digital services to prove one’s identity, also known as identity proofing or verification, and identity authentication of users. We use them every day when we have to provide Face ID to access digital services or provide a member ID to use our insurance. Learn more in our previous article on Identity.