Too many passwords? California may someday have a solution for state services

If you are like most people who access the Internet to do banking, make doctors appointments or read your online newspaper without the pop up ads, you have more passwords and account IDs than you would prefer.    For commercial websites, it’s becoming more common to share login credentials, using your Facebook ID and password for example.

This week, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) issued Call-to-Action: The Necessity for Maturing Identity and Access Management in State Government a report that states  “[a] ll levels of government and the private sector, are confronted by this challenge and are working together to create common policy, guidelines, standards, and responsibilities to protect cyber assets and ensure appropriate mechanisms are in place for a coordinated identity ecosystem.”

What is California’s progress?  According to State Enterprise Architect Subbarao Mupparaju, California state government is working on a system that will allow users to navigate across departments and services to, once credentialed into a secure environment, do everything from renew a driver’s license to apply for benefits.

In fact, California officials have been working with NASCIO on the issue and in 2010, the state issued the State Identity and Credential Access Management (SICAM) framework, a policy that governs the use, security and implementation of user accounts to move toward a unified system.

The Department of Motor Vehicles has launched an Identity Management Portal that currently has approximately 3.7 million users, said Mupparaju.  The Employment Development Department and Franchise Tax Board are also working on systems to become part of the larger infrastructure which is currently hosted by the Office of Technology Services.

Mupparaju calls California’s progress “satisfactory,” noting that challenges are more related to managing access with legacy systems, which is not surprising.


Bill Maile was editor of Techwire from 2011 to 2016.