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US spends $239M on digital identity projects


cybersecurity online authentication

The federal government has awarded $239 million for four digital identity-related agency projects three of which are zero-trust initiatives. It is part of a $1 billion fund to be disbursed.

Managers of the government’s Technology Modernization Fund, who approve related projects, have, with this disbursement, put an emphasis on ID authentication and verification upgrades.

Login.gov, part of the General Services Administration, will receive $187 million in batches. The cross-agency service is expanding identity verification coverage as it grows throughout the government.

The money will pay for options for digital identity and in-person verifications for “vulnerable populations.” Advanced digital security capabilities will be explored with the funds as well.

The remaining three allocations target zero-trust functions.

About $30 million is going to the General Services Administration’s as its managers, among other modernization tasks, create a zero-trust architecture. Engineers will build systems capable of continuously verifying the identity of users, devices and applications.

The Department of Education similarly will build a zero-trust architecture as part of a project that one $20 million from the modernization fund.

The Office of Personnel Management, meanwhile, was awarded $10 million to speed the adoption of zero-trust architecture strategies. One part of the effort is expected to create new digital identity management options especially in inter-agency projects.

All of this spending was part of combined $311 million awarded September 30, spread over seven projects. The government’s Technology Modernization Fund assigned the funding. Another $700 million in the fund has yet to be allocated.

The $1 billion was raised by Congress through an emergency law known as the American Rescue Plan.

In order to get more of the modernization projects off the ground, the White House this spring eased repayment requirements (repaid with departmental operating savings), which reportedly were so stringent that some funding had been sitting unrequested.

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