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Australian Government seeking final industry feedback on standards framework for national digital identity project

The Australian Government is asking industry for final feedback on a framework of standards for the development of an opt-in national digital identity.

The framework is part of the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) Govpass digital identity project, which aims to make the process of proving who you are to government services online simple, safe and secure.

The framework is currently in a private beta phase. It sets out the policies and requirements — including privacy, security, risk and fraud management along with standards for usability and accessibility — which will build a nationally consistent approach to online identity. The framework also establishes best practice for the public and private sectors.

The DTA has been consulting closely with key stakeholders, including government, industry and privacy advocates over the past 12 months to draft the framework. Public consultation on the framework will begin towards the end of this year.

It would sit alongside the technology platform for Govpass, called the exchange. The exchange will act as a safe and secure go between for the department and the organisation or verifier that can vouch for a user. It will seek an electronic tick of approval from an accredited verifier, giving the user access to a range of government online services, while limiting the information flowing between the verifier and the government agency the user is dealing with. A video here provides an example of how Govpass will work.

Govpass is being tested on the Australian Taxation Office’s new online tax file number application service, also in beta phase.

There are 750,000 applications for tax file numbers every year. Currently, applications can only be completed by visiting an Australia Post or Centrelink shopfront or by sending certified copies of identity documents to the ATO via post. This process can take about 40 days. It is expected Govpass will reduce this time to just minutes.

Govpass will be tested on a broader number of users and services by mid-2018 when it reaches public beta.

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, said, “Govpass will solve one of the biggest barriers for the public in terms of doing business online with government —the ability for a user to easily prove who they are.”

In the 2017-18 federal budget, the government provided AU$22.7 million to complete the next stage of development for Govpass . In May this year, DTA partnered with Australia Post to explore how Australia Post’s identity technology might be integrated into the Govpass program. 

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