updated 1/16/2004 3:48:27 PM ET 2004-01-16T20:48:27

The government must still develop policies, secure funding and train its employees before agencies can use a security system designed to protect online transactions, congressional investigators said Thursday.

The General Accounting Office said the security system goes beyond simply typing in a password to protect data and verify the identity of the person using the Internet to transact business with the federal government. The GAO said 20 agencies are trying to install the new system.

But problems that the GAO identified in 2001 remain unsolved, according to the report issued Thursday. For example, technical and policy guidance is needed, funding, around $1 billion, needs to be found, staff needs to be trained, and the security system must be integrated into other government computer systems.

Both the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget agreed with the report's findings, the GAO said.

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