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MyGov Accounts Now Connected to Australian Digital ID

More than 600,000 MyGov accounts are now connected to a digital identity, an industry conference has heard. Nearly 4 million digital identities have been created via myGovID, allowing them to sign into their MyGov account and access government services. Around 82,000 of these accounts use biometric, or face recognition, technology.

The Deputy CEO of Services Australia, on Monday, provided an update on the new enhanced MyGov platform, which will integrate digital identity, biometric verification, and allow data to be shared across the government. He noted that once fully implemented digital identity will allow eligible customers to conduct their business online while also preventing them from having to prove their identity in person over and over again to access services.

For the government, digital identity is a reusable capability that allows agencies to deal with customers through digital channels with higher confidence and reduces expensive physical identity verification processes, he added.

Stopping fraud

A public beta currently underway the ATO has increased the identity proofing service in myGovID to level 3, making possible integration with the government’s facial verification service. The version also includes verification that a face has been scanned by a real person.

This provides high confidence in the claimed identity and is intended for services with a major risk of serious fraud. It will also allow Centrelink customers to prove who they are from their device without having to go into a Centrelink office. Of the 4 million identities created in myGovID, over 2.8 million have established at least a level 2 identity strength and more than 82,000 have reached the stronger IP3 level.

Legislation to enable commercial providers

Services Australia will operate the MyGovID exchange which will allow customers to view a history of where their digital ID has been used to access services and where it’s been shared. They can also use it to manage consent around their data. The entire exchange will soon migrate to OpenShift.

The DTA is leading the whole government digital identity program and the ATO is developing MyGov ID as the government’s digital identity provider. MyGovID is currently the only digital ID active in the digital identity system, however, it was noted that commercial providers and solutions will become available within the system once enabling legislation and a charging framework is in place.

MyGov app due for release

Services Australia is also developing a MyGov app, with a first iteration due for release in December. The app will have a wallet function to store digital government credential information including an international COVID-19 digital certificate.

In September 2021, the ATO made changes to make it easier for users to achieve a strong identity strength in the myGovID app by reducing the number of documents needed to verify – from three to two.

The ATO said that strong identity strength with face verification was released within the myGovID app in August. If automatic updates have been set up on users’ devices and they previously verified their Australian passports, they may have already noticed the option to ‘Verify your photo’.

The ATO had also said that in the coming weeks, a ‘prompted update’ of the myGovID app will be required for all devices and all users will have the opportunity to set up a strong identity strength. Users would also be able to manually update their myGovID app in their app store to access the features sooner.

To set up a strong myGovID, users need to verify an Australian passport, at least one other identity document, and their photo, according to the ATO. This one-off face verification process scans users’ faces to check that they are a real person and the right person, all while verifying in real-time.

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