The Australian Government will spend $7.5 million to extend and open up its National Document Verification System to local businesses in the hopes of recouping losses from the system's troubled deployment.
The service forms part of the government's National Identity Security Strategy, enabling proof-of-identification documents to be verified in real time. The service checks that they are authentic, accurate and up to date, while ensuring that the individual's privacy is maintained.
The service itself was initially funded with $28.3 million from the 2006-07 budget, but was only open for use by government agencies. It saw teething issues and poor adoption rates at its inception, with the Victorian and Western Australian governments only taking part in the system last year. Since October 2010, it has seen 316,000 documents verified.
According to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, opening the system up to the private sector will cost $7.5 million over three years, and will allow the government to recover the cost of the program by bringing in an estimated revenue of $6.9 million per year through transaction fees for the service.
The government claims that the service will help businesses save money by reducing unnecessary manual processes, data collection and recordkeeping. It has already seen interest from businesses in the telecommunications and financial-services industries.
"Extending the document-verification service to business will improve identity security and support law-enforcement efforts against identity crime," Roxon said.
Businesses will be able to apply to use the service from the end of this year.