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News Release: DHS Awards $200K for Issuing and Validating Essential Work and Task Licenses

News Release: DHS Awards $200K for Issuing and Validating Essential Work and Task Licenses

Release Date: 
October 9, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
S&T Public Affairs, 202-254-2385
E-mail: STMedia@hq.dhs.gov

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded $200,000 to MATTR LIMITED, a woman-owned start-up based in Auckland, New Zealand, to develop a capability to digitally issue and validate essential work and task licenses for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Phase 1 award was made under S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) re-release of its Preventing Forgery & Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses solicitation, which sought standards-based blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions to fulfill additional needs across DHS missions.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has amplified the role of essential workers in ensuring the continuity of operations in emergency response, supply chain fulfillment, essential business, and other previously overlooked areas of interest―and the need for them to self-identify in the performance of their duties. In addition, the need for individuals to interact in-person with DHS to conduct official tasks, duties, and appointments while ensuring public health and safety still exists during this global pandemic.

MATTR is currently building an extensive set of foundational capabilities in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for verifiable credential issuance, verification, and storage. An essential worker or a person performing an essential task would receive various credentials and attestations from many issuers containing relevant assertions about their essential work or task status. Their solution also offers the option to validate the information further by using either public or private registries of authoritative verifiable information.

“The ability for workers and individuals conducting essentials tasks to assert their respective eligibilities in a manner that safeguards their individual privacy and civil liberties while ensuring public health is a critical need,” said Anil John, SVIP technical director. “MATTR’s platform brings the modular building blocks to address this need by its support for World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) verifiable credentials and decentralized identifier standards. They will adapt and enhance their platform by supporting privacy respecting, ledger independent selective disclosure of information, and integration with existing federated identity protocols to provide a complete solution.”

Given the reality that certain areas of the economy will need to continue to operate in parallel for an extended period of time while effective counter-measures are being developed, the ability for workers and individuals conducting essentials tasks to assert their respective eligibility in a manner that safeguards their individual privacy and civil liberties while ensuring public health is a critical need.

About SVIP

SVIP is one of S&T’s programs and tools to fund innovation and work with private sector partners to advance homeland security solutions. Companies participating in SVIP are eligible for up to $800,000 of non-dilutive funding over four phases to develop and adapt commercial technologies for homeland security use cases.

For more information on current and future SVIP solicitations, visit  https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/svip or contact dhs-silicon-valley@hq.dhs.gov.

For more information about S&T’s innovation programs and tools, visit https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/business-opportunities.

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