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U.S. Department of Homeland Security selects startups to develop digital identity credentials

Around the globe, work on digital
identity credentials is accelerating with the United States the latest country
to take a step forward in development.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s
Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded contracts to six
startups to develop digital credentials that could be used for cross-border
travel and other purposes.

The companies – Credence ID,
Hushmesh, Netis d.o.o., Procivis, SpruceID and Ubiqu – have each received about
$200,000 for this first phase and are eligible for up to $1.7 million in
funding across four phases administered by S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation

All of the solutions are designed to
create privacy-enhanced digital wallets for travel and immigration.

Nick Price, founder of Netsys
Technology and co-chair of the Hospitality & Travel Special Interest Group
at the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF)
, said the DHS has been working on
digital identity solutions and standards for several years and its support of
these startups is good news for travel and tourism.

“This announcement from DHS Science & Technology presents further
proof that the path to a usable digital identity with the tools to use it is
becoming ever more clear,” he said.

And said Anil John, technical director of S&T’s Silicon Valley
Innovation Program, “DHS is
the authoritative source of some of the most highly valued credentials issued
by the U.S. Federal Government for cross-border travel, demonstrating
employment eligibility, residency status and citizenship. The capabilities
developed under this solicitation will ensure that those credentials can be
stored securely and verified properly while preserving the privacy of
individuals using openly developed standards that are globally acceptable,
highly secure and accessible to all.”

The European Union is also progressing with its effort to implement digital identity. As of May, a new regulation went into effect that requires all European Union member states to offer at least one EU Digital Identity Wallet to all citizens
and residents by 2026 for cross-border travel and other purposes.

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