A bill called ‘Improving Digital Identity Act’ has been introduced to U.S. congress as part of a push to update what a lagging government authentication system.

If passed, it would require the Executive Office of the President to form and maintain a new ‘Improving Digital Identity Task Force’. Members would represent the treasury, state and education departments, among others from a wide range of federal agencies, and it would also include state and local government officials, which would partner to produce more secure methods for the public sector to use to validate identity attributes and foster interoperable digital identity verification tools across many functions.

More than 164 million consumer records containing personally identifiable information were breached in 2019, according to the legislation, which calls for next-generation solutions to address inadequacies of existing digital identity solutions that degrade the privacy and security of American consumers.

“The work and routine of daily life is increasingly done online—whether it’s banking, investing, shopping, or even communicating with doctors—and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this digital evolution,” Illinois Democrat senator, Bill Foster, said. “It’s become vitally important to ramp up safeguards to protect against identity theft and fraud, so consumers and businesses can have confidence in online transactions and the peace-of-mind of protecting sensitive information.”

National Institute of Standards and Technology would be tasked with the creation of a new framework of standards for agencies providing digital identity verification services. The approach would put an emphasis on privacy and security. The bill also calls for a Homeland Security Department-led grant program to help states revamp their credentialing systems, and for DHS to release directives to enhance federal systems’ cybersecurity.