The US has published a strategy aimed at improving the security of online transactions.
The report builds on the Cyberspace Policy Review, commissioned by President Barack Obama, which analysed the government's ICT infrastructure defensive capabilities.
The strategy proposes a system for identity management that would allow people to use various authentication methods to verify their identity before carrying out transactions online.
Transactions include buying goods online as well as accessing sensitive information such as health or banking records.
But, Howard Schmidt, White House cybersecurity co-ordinator, said making such a system effective will require creating an identity ecosystem, according to US reports.
The strategy cannot exist in isolation and the identity ecosystem will have to be backed by extensive public/private co-operation, he said.
The strategy proposes that the US government establish a set of standards to enable multiple suppliers to offer authentication services, according to the Financial Times.
These standards will also enable web users to visit multiple sites without re-submitting information once their identities have been verified.
The US government hopes to succeed in establishing a multi-purpose identification system in the face of growing online fraud and intellectual property theft estimated at $1,000bn a year.
Stakeholders now have three weeks to comment on the newly-published National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.