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US creeps towards digital ID legislation as election looms

US creeps towards digital ID legislation as election looms

The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has voted to advance the Improving Digital Identity Act, moving one step further toward legislation that lays the foundation for a national Digital ID system for American citizens, according to MeriTalk.

Now headed to the Senate floor for full consideration, the bill aims to establish a public-private digital identity task force, charged with strengthening privacy and digital ID verification methods across U.S. government agencies.

The Act passed the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in July.

The bipartisan bill, which is sponsored by Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis, also enables the Department of Homeland Security to award grants for upgrades to digital identity verification systems. State, local, territorial and tribal governments will be eligible to receive support for the development of highly secure, interoperable ID systems.

Finally, the Improving Digital Identity Act would require the Government Accountability Office to report to Congress with estimated cost savings from the wide use of digital identification and biometric technologies.

A national digital ID system is seen as a potential driver of economic activity, by offering security solutions for online transactions, and as a way to combat the rise in identity fraud. For some, said system also comes with privacy concerns. However, the bill prohibits the government from creating a centralized ID database, to minimize the risk of cybercrime and major data breaches.

The U.S. holds mid-term elections on November 8, 2022, which are widely expected to result in a divided Congress.

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