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The Digital Identity move in Australia

Providing physical documentation such as your Passport or Birth Certificate to prove your identity is currently the biggest issue government services are facing in their attempt to digitally transform their service offerings. In Australia, the Passport Office still requires all applications to be lodged in person. Whilst I can understand the reasoning behind this, in today’s busy society, people often do not have the time to stand in line and wait their turn to lodge an application.

What is the Australian government’s response to this? The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has been working on a digital identity program known as Govpass, whose aim is to create a digital identity for every Australian Citizen, building a nationwide trusted service that is recognised by online government services. The benefit of such a system is that it provides Australians with the option of completing their government-related business online, rather than through the process of visiting a shopfront.

While still in the development phase, Govpass is due to be tested with service providers in late October, prior to its launch to the general public in mid-2019.

In order for the program to work successfully, the following key components are required:

  • A set of rules and standards that ensures the security and accessibility of the system, this is known as the Trusted Digital Identity Framework.
  • The accumulation of Digital Identity Providers. This includes the Commonwealth Identity provider and myGovID, run by the Australian Taxation Office.
  •  The Identity Exchange, which acts as a gateway between government service and digital providers. This is run by the Department of Human Services.
  • Government services that use myGovID as proof of identity to access a service.

With the upcoming launch of this service, the first stage of this program will provide access to Government Services for individuals. However, in the future, you may also be provided with access to Government Services on behalf of a business or someone else.

With this opportunity of a digital identity, comes a range of challenges such as dealing with potential vulnerabilities in the system that can be exploited by cyber terrorists to conduct criminal activities or the challenge of ensuring that all digital identities are stored in a secure location and are heavily encrypted to avoid any leaks. Although there are a few challenges which need to be addressed prior to a successful nationwide rollout, I feel as though the pro's of implementing such a system definitely outweigh the cons and I truly believe that Australia is moving in the right direction when it comes to keeping up with the digital age. I want to know what you guys think of this movement and whether or not you think Australia is moving in the right direction.

 

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Shaun Thomas

Shaun Thomas

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Namescan

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