Nearly half a year after a scathing inspector general (IG) report exposed the General Services Administration (GSA) for years of misleading Federal agencies on the security of its Login.gov platform, GSA announced that the identity-proofing website has seen a 50 percent increase in use over the past year.
In a blog post published on Aug. 18, GSA announced a “record” adoption and use of Login.gov: 43 Federal and state agencies now leverage the platform with more than 70 million user accounts.
Login.gov enables members of the public to create a single digital account that allows access to programs within agencies. According to GSA, this “one account for government” makes accessing government benefits and services easier, faster, and more secure.
In March of this year, GSA’s IG released a report saying that officials from the agency misled Federal organizations for years by falsely claiming that Login.gov met government standards for identity-proofing.
According to the report, GSA knowingly billed customer agencies over $10 million for Login.gov services that purported to meet National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) digital identity guidelines – Identity Assurance Level 2 (IAL2) requirements – but did not. Specifically, the IG found 18 interagency agreements that claimed that Login.gov met or was consistent with IAL2 between Sept. 2018 and Jan. 2022.
In addition, the IG found that GSA officials used misleading language to secure additional funds for Login.gov, including in its Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) application. Login.gov received a whopping $187 million TMF funding award in late 2021.
According to the blog post published last week, Login.gov is on a path to providing an IAL2-compliant identity verification service to its customers in a responsible, equitable way.
“Building on the strong evidence-based identity verification that Login.gov already offers, Login.gov is on a path to providing IAL2-compliant identity verification that ensures both strong security and broad and equitable access,” the agency wrote.
GSA Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Commissioner Sonny Hashmi noted earlier this summer that the tool’s adoption curve continues to increase despite the OIG’s findings in March.
“I’m excited to share that Login’s adoption curve continues to increase,” Hashmi said on June 1. “Purely because there’s a need out there. Agencies need to use, need to develop, and deliver goods and services – identity is a big part of that. And Login is the only kind of platform across government – state, local, Federal – that is known to work.”
Login.gov now has more than 70 million MFA-enabled user accounts, with over 20 million new accounts being created in the past year, GSA wrote in its new blog post. During the same time period, the number of users who have verified their identities using Login.gov’s evidence-based identity verification offering has grown by over 130 percent, and the number of Federal and state agencies partnering with Login.gov has increased over 50 percent.
The agency also noted that, under new leadership, the website has continued to enhance its offerings over the past year.
These enhancements include a first-of-its-kind partnership with the U.S. Postal Service to offer in-person identity verification at over 18,000 post office locations nationwide, as well as an expansion of customer support to include 24/7 phone and email support in a growing number of languages, GSA wrote. Login.gov has also rolled out enhanced anti-fraud tools and processes to detect and stop fraudulent actors.
“Increasingly, everything relies on simple and secure digital identity – whether that’s folks applying for health, unemployment, housing, or food benefits, or loans to farmers, small businesses, or students,” GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan said. “After seeing the exploitation of the legacy identity verification systems meant to protect pandemic benefits programs, such as unemployment and small business loan programs, I am more excited than ever to see an increasing number of federal and state agencies adopt Login.gov to protect their programs.”
The agency said that over the coming year, Login.gov will focus on growing Federal and state partnerships, further enhancing offerings, and coordinating industry-leading cross-agency working groups on topics including policy, security, fraud, and equity.