In a move that embraces and expands the need for identity management systems nationwide, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that, starting in September, federal contracts will only be awarded to companies that use the government’s E-Verify system to assure their employees are in the country legally and eligible to work. The new contract rule represents a major commitment by the federal government to make sure identities are verified and trusted — a function Notaries provide every day while performing their duties. The rule also supports the DHS position that securing and protecting identities is among the top national security concerns of the 21st century. Identity security is also among the top concerns of the National Notary Association which, as a national public trust, themed its 2009 Conference “The Emerging Identity Manager.” Industry and government are utilizing Notaries more and more for “Identification and Authentication” functions in order to screen applicants for digital identity credentials, with the expectation that Notaries will soon handle the demands of an increasingly electronic society. E-Verify is a free, Web-based system that compares information from Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) forms to several federal databases to attain identity verification from multiple sources. While neither the I-9 form nor an E-Verify submission require a notarization, businesses have begun asking Notaries to help them as third party agents because of their professionalism, experience in verifying identities and their role as impartial, third party witnesses. More than 134,000 employers nationwide currently use E-Verify at more than 500,000 locations, with more than 1,000 new employers signing up for the program each week. The new federal contract rule will continue pushing the nation to the point where identity management systems like E-Verify become the norm rather than the exception. As that trend continues, Notaries will increasingly find themselves drawn to the forefront of America’s identity security efforts. During his keynote address at the NNA’s 2009 Conference, Paul Donfried, Vice President and Principal of Identity Access Management Solutions for Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), called on Notaries to “evangelize” about the contribution they can make to securing identities and create opportunities for themselves as identity managers.