US Homeland Security seeks additional protection for digital credentials

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The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has issued a solicitation to create, improve and implement a new set of tools that protect the privacy of individuals when using digital credentials.

Companies participating in this SVIP Topic Call are eligible for up to US$1.7m of non-dilutive funding over four phases to develop and adapt commercial technologies for homeland security use cases. The deadline for submitting applications for the solicitation is 3:00pm (ET) on September 15, 2023.

The solicitation, called the ‘Privacy Preserving Digital Credential Wallets & Verifiers’ topic call, is administered by S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) and seeks solutions that can support a privacy-preserving digital credentialing ecosystem for DHS components and offices such as US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the DHS Privacy Office (PRIV).

This solicitation builds on the adoption of the open, standards-based digital credentialing solutions developed under SVIP’s previous ‘Preventing Forgery & Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses’ topic call. It seeks privacy-preserving components that can be directly integrated into credentialing systems enabled by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Verifiable Credential Data Model (VCDM) and W3C Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) standards utilized by DHS digital credentialing systems.

Applications for the solicitation must focus on at least one of the following technical topic areas: digital wallet or mobile verifier. For the first topic, DHS is seeking digital wallets that are useful across contexts and jurisdictions; can support the broad range of credentials possible with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Verifiable Credential Data Model (VCDM) and W3C Decentralized Identifiers (DID) standards that include verified support for DHS issued credentials; and are portable, secure, privacy-preserving, standards-based, interoperable and multi-functional. For the mobile verifier topic, DHS is seeking software-based verifier implementations that can be deployed on mobile devices, including on iOS- and Android-based devices, that can support the broad range of credentials possible with W3C VCDM/DID standards to include verified support for DHS-issued credentials.

Mason Clutter, chief privacy officer at DHS, said, “The Privacy Office is proud to partner with our colleagues to identify, develop and implement privacy-enhancing technologies to meet Homeland Security mission needs. This investment in the building blocks of a privacy-protective digital credentialing system further demonstrates the department’s commitment to privacy and serves as a model for the global community.”

Melissa Oh, managing director of SVIP, added, “Preserving the privacy of individuals as they use digital wallets to store their credentials is deeply important in ensuring the secure, confidential nature of their digital interactions in an increasingly interconnected world.”

Read more of the latest regulation and policy updates from the passenger terminal industry, here.

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