18F To Agencies: Think Before Creating a Citizen Login System

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The group is also overseeing the production of Login.gov.

The digital consultancy 18F wants government agencies to think about how citizens should access information on their sites.

The General Services Administration team, which oversees the production of Login.gov, a public-facing authentication system, published a set of principles other agencies might use when deciding whether to use Login.gov or any other such virtual platform.

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For instance, the new playbook says, agencies may not need identity systems if they don’t have ongoing relationships with users, if interactions don’t depend on citizen information being accurate, and if there are other forms of security.

18F issued a task order for Login.gov earlier this summer, but agencies have been attempting to create a widely applicable citizen log-in system for several years. GSA has helped with other identity management pilots, including Connect.gov and MyUSA, which are both ending, Federal News Radio reported earlier this year.

The playbook recommends agencies user-test extensively, and use agile development methods so the system can adapt to new security standards.

The Login.gov task order was issued under that team’s agile blanket purchase agreement, which pre-vets a set of vendors who are skilled in that methodology, which involves modular production and frequent development of prototypes.