Australian banks plot national ID verification gateway

Australian banks plot national ID verification gateway

The Australian Bankers' Association is working with domestic government agencies on the creation of a national ID verification gateway in an effort to halt the rising tide of identity fraud.

David Bell, ABA chief executive and chairman of ABA-convened Australian Fraud Taskforce outlined the initiative at the Cards Asia 2003 conference in Singapore.

He says: "The Taskforce has noted that identity fraud is an emerging threat and is concentrating its efforts on developing a partnership between government and private enterprise to develop an online identification verification gateway."

The Taskforce was established late last year in response to escalating levels of card and electronic banking crime. Members include Australian banks' heads of fraud and security, police, and card schemes.

The Australian Financial Transactions Reports Act requires that consumers who open a bank account must be identified by providing documents which meet the 100 points identification system. The Federal Government has allocated a 'points value' to each form of identification ranging from 25 to 100 points for each type. To open a bank account, consumers need to provide documents such as a birth certificate, driver’s licence or passport, which total at least 100 points.

Bell says the Taskforce has convinced the Australian Minister for Justice, Senator Chris Ellison, to conduct a feasibility study of the online verification gateway so that those identity documents can be verified with the issuing agency when presented by the customer.

"The gateway would see the linking of databases of agencies and government departments that issue documents such as motor vehicle licensing departments, births, deaths and marriage registries and the departments of Foreign Affairs and Immigration," says Bell.

Banks and other organisations or government departments wishing to verify whether the documents were genuine would be able to access all the databases through the one secure gateway.

Bell says this is a substantial project but believes it could grow from an initial small hub of organisations to a larger network as other agencies join. The feasibility study will also examine issues such as the required levels of security, document management and privacy.

On other issues, the Taskforce is rolling out education campaigns on fraud prevention and card skimming devices, and later this year will look at the development of voluntary industry standards on security and fraud prevention for all electronic and face-to-face banking transactions. The standards will cover interface requirements, authentication and verification processes, and source document validation.

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