US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, during an event at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, insists that the plan is not a national ID card and would not be "a government-controlled system".
He said it would enhance online security and privacy and reduce and eliminate the need to memorise a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.
The scheme has been muttered about for about a year, but details are still thin on the ground. The idea is that users would have an optional smart card or digital certificate that would prove their actual identities. These would be offered to consumers by online vendors for financial transactions.
White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said that there would be no centralised database either.
Schmidt said that the Commerce Department's role is "the absolute perfect spot in the US government" to centralise efforts toward creating an "identity ecosystem" for the Internet. Gobbledygook.
Hmm a system where a person is given a number and needs to use it to buy goods and services. Where will Americans have heard of that before? Oh, that is right Revelation.
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
Our guess is that Obama will have some problems selling this one to the Bible Belt.