New ID Theft, Fraud Prevention Initiative Launched

Corporate leaders, academics and federal officials gathered Tuesday morning in the First Amendment room of the National Press Club to announce an initiative to tackle the challenges posed by identity theft and fraud. These growing cyber-security tribulations will be addressed through studies that will be funded by grants, agency funding, non-profits and foundations.
Founded by LexisNexis Special Services chief executive Norman Willow Jr. and Dr. Gary Gordon of<st1:place><st1:placename>Indiana</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>University</st1:placetype></st1:place>, the goal of the Center for Applied Identity Management Research (CAIMR) is to define, and then tackle, the international problem of identity theft, focusing on public safety, national security and financial and corporate fraud.
Based at <st1:place><st1:placename>Indiana</st1:placename><st1:placetype>University</st1:placetype></st1:place>, and in partnership with the <st1:place><st1:placetype>University</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename>Texas</st1:placename></st1:place> in <st1:city><st1:place>Austin</st1:place></st1:city>, CAIMR is the collaborative effort of the Defense Department, the Secret Service, <st1:country-region><st1:place>US</st1:place></st1:country-region> Marshals Service and fourteen major organizations and corporations in the private sector.
“How you determine that people are who they claim to be when they seek access, whether to a network or to a government facility or to some other restricted area,” asked professor Fred Cate of <st1:place><st1:placename>Indiana</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>University</st1:placetype></st1:place>. “It is a critical challenge and it’s one which today we are largely failing at doing well.”
<o:p></o:p>“The Center’s purpose is to convene key stakeholders to marshal their respective strengths to help solve the challenges posed by identity theft and fraud, Gordon explained.
This kind of collaboration between the private sector, academia and the government in tackling this issue is unprecedented, added Cate.
While acknowledging the government’s, and especially the private sector’s, past financial contributions to university research, Cate said that “in order to manage the challenges surrounding identification management, it is going to be critical that we share not only the financial support for research but also that data, that experience and that expertise so that, in fact, we know we are focusing on the right problems, we are focusing on workable solutions and we are doing so with the most relevant information that is possible.”
Assistant Director Michael Merritt of the Secret Service Office of Investigations agreed.
“A great deal more can be accomplished in fighting these crimes if we are able to harness additional resources that exist outside government,” Merritt said, adding, “law enforcement alone is not adequately equipped to address all the involving technologies utilized by cyber criminals.”
The Center’s aim is not to use the information it amasses, whether to lobby for certain policies or to produce new technology, though it is hoped that its partners and others in the public will. Rather, the Center’s aim, according to Gordon, is to, “find empirical research that can be used to make decisions to help better technology. We’re very much interested in pragmatic research that can lead to immediate application in the public and private sector.”
CAIMR has it’s work cut out for them, as there is very little hard information on not only the effectiveness of the methods and technologies designed to curb identity theft, but the very scope of the problem itself,” said John Hermansen, chief technology officer for <st1:stockticker>IBM</st1:stockticker>’s Global Name Recognition Group and co-Founder and CEO of Language Analysis Systems, Inc. Hermansen is an expert on name recognition technology development and utilization.
“We have very little research based on data,” but “we’ve a lot of impressionistic ideas, we’ve devised policies and models,” Hermansen said.
<o:p></o:p>The opening challenge for CAIMR is not to find what the problem is, he added, but to count and record, for the first time, exactly how big it is.
CAIMR will serve as “a unique blend of those government, academic and industry experts here that’s now at the forefront of replacing the fear and folklore of identity management with facts based on actual data,” said Gordon.
The shift from fighting armies and machines on the traditional front lines to fighting plain-clothed combatants across the entire world has also led the military to take an active role in CAIMR. The Defense Department is a partner inthe center and hopes to use the research to improve the military’s ability to identify enemy combatants.
Chris Bedford is HSToday’s editorial intern. He writes frequently for

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