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Australia to begin broader testing of Govpass Digital ID platform in the first half of 2018

Above image: Screenshot of the Govpass ID creation process video by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA). The Australian Government has delivered a beta of its digital identity platform, outlined in a video showing how to apply for an optional Govpass.

Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the Govpass platform was currently in testing phase, with consultation continuing with stakeholders.

Assistant Minister Taylor said people choosing to use Govpass would only need to prove themselves once to government.

"A digital identity will be about choosing a faster, simpler option to move between online services," Assistant Minister Taylor said.

"The Australian Government has more than 30 different logins for digital services. Not only does this create extra work for users, it represents unnecessary expense for agencies.

"I would like to see a point where we can do away with all those user names and passwords, that need to continue to be updated, when you login to a service."

To create an optional Govpass account, people will be asked to provide details from a number of personal documents. These are documents most people have access to such as a birth certificate or driver’s licence.

The documents are verified by the issuer. For example, a birth certificate will be verified by the department of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the issuing state.

The final step is to verify a photograph of the user. Using the camera on a computer, phone or tablet, a number of photographs are taken. These are submitted for comparison with an existing photographic identification such as a passport, which is held by the Attorney-General’s Department’s Facial Verification System.

No details from the documents, or the photograph, are retained by Govpass. They are verified and discarded.

Face-to-face contact for government services will still be available, and an offline solution is being designed which will allow those who don’t have access to the appropriate documents to create a digital identity.

Hundreds of hours of user research has been conducted by the Digital Transformation Agency to guide the development of Govpass.

"People want more choice because, in many cases, they struggle to get to government shopfronts. Some people in regional or remote areas have a two-and-a-half hour round trip to the nearest service centre," Assistant Minister Taylor said.

The Govpass platform will be tested with a broader number of users and services in the first half of 2018.

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