Distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and blockchain solutions can improve the delivery of government services by providing greater visibility into business operations, enhancing transparency of public service operations, and automating paper-based processes. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded $193,000 to SecureKey Technologies, based in Toronto, Canada, to develop the capability to implement an alternative identifier to the social security number. The Phase 1 award was made under S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) re-release of Preventing Forgery & Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses solicitation, which identifies five additional use cases supporting DHS mission needs.
“The widespread, dual usage of the SSN as both identifier and authenticator has created significant identity theft concerns,” said Anil John, SVIP technical director. “SecureKey will implement a system based on World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards, such as Decentralized Identifiers, that will allow for the issuance of a globally unique, meaningless but resolvable and verifiable identifier that will not reveal personally identifiable information and cannot be used for tracking purposes.”
To enable DHS components to issue and verify identifiers and credentials, this solicitation sought start-up companies with solutions that use global, interoperable standards for decentralized identifiers and resilient registries. The overall goal is to enhance security while employing privacy-respecting mechanisms that implement standards-based, multi-platform interoperability.