Feds release public service ID management plans

The federal government has moved to set minimum standards across its agencies for checking employees or contractors are who they claim to be and that their qualifications are genuine. A new draft report into a whole-of-government identity verification and management system says presently the government has "no fixed minimum standards for establishing a level of confidence in the identity or qualifications of an individual associated with a given role".

The federal government has moved to set minimum standards across its agencies for checking employees or contractors are who they claim to be and that their qualifications are genuine.

A new draft report into a whole-of-government identity verification and management system says presently the government has "no fixed minimum standards for establishing a level of confidence in the identity or qualifications of an individual associated with a given role".

The draft -- circulated to portfolio agencies late last year -- also says integration or interoperability between agencies of systems such as human resources, information technology, financial and security is "not common".

Several agencies are reluctant to accept security clearances conducted by another agency for transferred employees, while many issue staff with identity tokens which generally do not operate beyond their facilities.

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has distributed the draft Identity Management for Australian Government Employees (IMAGE) framework to agencies with a requirement feedback be given by 31 January.

According to the draft, the proposed framework "provides a consistent, transparent identity management system across the Australian government, builds trust across agencies and facilitates confidence with the associated information credential".

The report said IMAGE had been developed "in consultation with Australian government agencies, under the auspices of the Information Management Strategy Committee, the chief information officers' committee and its authentication working group".

According to the draft, Australian government agencies will adopt IMAGE on a business case basis.

"As agencies are reviewing or upgrading their identification or access systems, they can transition to IMAGE for physical security," the report says.

Specific areas touched on by the IMAGE framework include security and standardisation measures such as a single identification card for all Commonwealth public servants and guidelines for evidence of identity and police checks.

A spokesperson for the Special Minister of State, Senator Eric Abetz, told ZDNet Australia the single card -- which would contain a chip -- would probably be implemented by 2007/08.

He stressed the card would not be "an Australia Card for the public service" as each department or agency "will still keep control of the records of who they employ".

The proposals are expected to affect more than 130,000 Commonwealth public service employees.

The government is presently debating the introduction of a national identity card for Australians and has flagged proposals for a greater sharing of information about individuals between agencies.

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