Massive smartcard plan confirmed

Massive smartcard plan confirmed

Summary: Government confirms massive smartcard plan

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The federal government today confirmed work was underway on a proposal to deploy smartcards to millions of Australians under a project to slash administrative costs and crack down on identity theft.

Senator Eric Abetz, the Special Minister of State, told ZDNet Australia today he and the Minister for Human Services, Joe Hockey, were working on a project that would see cards incorporating smart chip technology and a photograph of the bearer replace a raft of government services and concession cards, including Medicare cards.

Senator Abetz said in all, 26 government services and concession cards could be replaced if and when the new card was distributed.

The project under consideration is believed to cost around AU$500 million -- two and a half times the figure quoted in some newspaper articles on the topic. It is understood the government is hoping to have the first cards rolled out in around two years.

Senator Abetz told ZDNet Australia he planned to say more about the government's plans in the area over the next few months.

The Minister told a Sydney conference this morning smartcards had the potential to "revolutionise" government service delivery.

"For example, in health care, a smartcard would help citizens to get better care and better service, faster.

"It would help healthcare providers to manage their business more efficiently and be paid more quickly for their services.

"And it could also benefit the taxpayer, by providing government with a powerful anti-fraud weapon.

"Similar benefits could be gained by applying smartcard technology to other government services, such as Centrelink," Abetz said.

Only 10 percent of the 180 million client transactions undertaken by Centrelink each year are undertaken online or via self-service facilities, the Minister said. Smart chip technology could drive this percentage upwards, "freeing up staff for more difficult situations that require the human touch".

"Potentially, a smartcard would also help us counter the insidious and growing threat of identity theft, a matter to which the Attorney-General and I, in my capacity as Minister for e-government, are paying a great deal of attention.

"In fact, I have no doubt that smart chip technology would actually improve the security of an individual's identity, given the relative ease with which the data on a magnetic strip card can be stolen".

Senator Abetz also signalled plans to roll out "a standard card of some type, perhaps using smart chip technology" across the Australian public service to replace the "plethora" of identification tokens presently in use.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Privacy

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5 comments
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  • Identity Card by any other name would smell just as bad

    This is yet another attempt to foist an identity card onto the Australian public.

    If Centrelink made it easy to enroll for their online service, more people would use it. I tried 3 times and each time one piece of the required info was incorrect - but they couldn't/wouldn't tell me which one. In the end, I gave up and resorted to waiting on the telephone for 20 minutes (that was a good day!).

    With the current frenzy of anti-terrism (sic) speak, we are gradually loosing our freedom - why don't we all just have a GPS chip implanted and be done with it.
    anonymous
  • Australia card anyone?

    "given the relative ease with which the data on a magnetic strip card can be stolen" ...and what's stopping the simple insertion of your smartcard into a mobile reader and copying the info off it? Hmmm?
    Too hard I hear you say?... I've built one... they're also available as kiddies kits from major electronic retailers.

    Go on - get rid of your other licenses and cards and opt for a single card - it's easier for someone to get your data from just one place rather than actually having to hunt for it!
    cybergus
  • Introduced by stealth, compared to the UK

    Any reader of theregister.co.uk would know how the UK government has been trying to 'sell' the concept of an ID card to the population. The great unwashed have been against it in droves. The only ones convinced of the need is the government ... whom have tried to 'spin' success/popularity at any cost.

    Not only are we in this war with Britain and USA (and minor others), but we seem to all be having ID cards forced on the population at the same time.

    The Australian government is simply doing this by stealth to one minority at a time ... starting with those who aren't in a position to resist ... pensioners and other Centrelink/Medicare dependants.

    Andrew Smith
    Brisbane
    anonymous
  • Identity Card without our consent

    Who the Hell do the Government think they are.They are supposed !!!!!to answer to us the people and represent each electorate not rule us..Not toe the Party line and vote as commanded by our current dictator Her Howard!.
    I agree with being prepared with terrorism but isnt it ridiculous if we had a gas attack no one would have access to a gas mask.The most basic issue to all police /emergency personel.I purchased some in South Australia but you know most people wouldnt have a clue.The reason I talk about a small thing like thiis is we have not had a Terrorist attack.Hey look at Israel on a weekly basis,Russia,Indonesia.and by the way Bali is not Australia it was an attack on Indonesia (INDONESIA)Why is it our government keeps making laws that empower them more and more when they dont even have the capability to mobolise 2000 emergency services or military in any part of Australia within 24 hours.It is pitiful.We need more Helicopters.More C130 Transportr planes.Sure we need adjustments to some laws but do you know our government has authorised our Law enforcement agencies with more power than the FBI actually has.!!! This is extremely worrying.All you see is Little Johnny Dictator and his asswipes all caniving to infringe on our freedoms more and more.They ignore our constitution and in fact have trodden on it so much its a wonder it exists.Does Australia realise we do have a constitution and that the states cannot be dissolved as they are a neccessary structure against total centalisation.I know Jonny would love to abolish all states and local shires but he cant.He wants gunlaws in his hands but our constitution specifically gave them to the states and by doing so stops all power whether corrupt or not from having complete ontrol.States cannot relinquish these powers but are blackmailed all thetime when the Feds want their way.
    Wake up Australia.We do not need identity cards.We have damn drivers licenses.We have Centrelink who remeber would never be able to cross link departments like the tax office but amazingly they do now.Every thing they say is for the good of Australia is only a power trip for the Feds.Wake up Australia for Gods sake,We literally have a dictator running our country who smiles while he is screwing you in the back.Damn Government,he was forced to put a susnet clause in as he should have been forced too with the gunlaws in 1996.I noticed the US dropped their Assault weapons ban as it didnt work and was a waste of money.Even New Zealand who had registration went back to just licensing people not the guns and it works very well.Cananda is struggling with Registration and is looking like failing as it is blowing out by billions.For all the money spent so far on????what ,they still are adding more powersand has nything happened lately???
    Wake up Australia you are being screwed.This land is becoming a Police state.perhaps thats why we are so friendly with China ,they want to adapt some of their rules eh?
    Come on!!I have been to the USA a number of times and my wifes family is there .I felt safer there where people have concealed carry permits than on the Gold Coast on a Friday night.I was in a State where gunlaws are very lax and it is a a extremely safe place to live.Its interesting how Scotland and England who have almost toal gun bans have the most serious and highest Assaults rapes,murders per 100,000 people compared to gun toting countries like Israel,USA,and a few others are a way down the list.All I want to know is why do our law enforcement need more powers than the FBI when we do not have the Ammendments of the constitution that guarentee them certain rights.Perhaps we really do have a lot of those rights but have been hoodwinked by a power hungry government who cares nothing for you and me.Apparently more Concrete is being poured in Canberra than when they built the blown out costed Parliment.They are obviously building bunkers for the important people like Politicians.
    Come on Wake up before its
    anonymous
  • Identity Card without our consent

    Who the Hell do the Government think they are.They are supposed !!!!!to answer to us the people and represent each electorate not rule us..Not toe the Party line and vote as commanded by our current dictator Her Howard!.
    I agree with being prepared with terrorism but isnt it ridiculous if we had a gas attack no one would have access to a gas mask.The most basic issue to all police /emergency personel.I purchased some in South Australia but you know most people wouldnt have a clue.The reason I talk about a small thing like thiis is we have not had a Terrorist attack.Hey look at Israel on a weekly basis,Russia,Indonesia.and by the way Bali is not Australia it was an attack on Indonesia (INDONESIA)Why is it our government keeps making laws that empower them more and more when they dont even have the capability to mobolise 2000 emergency services or military in any part of Australia within 24 hours.It is pitiful.We need more Helicopters.More C130 Transportr planes.Sure we need adjustments to some laws but do you know our government has authorised our Law enforcement agencies with more power than the FBI actually has.!!! This is extremely worrying.All you see is Little Johnny Dictator and his asswipes all caniving to infringe on our freedoms more and more.They ignore our constitution and in fact have trodden on it so much its a wonder it exists.Does Australia realise we do have a constitution and that the states cannot be dissolved as they are a neccessary structure against total centalisation.I know Jonny would love to abolish all states and local shires but he cant.He wants gunlaws in his hands but our constitution specifically gave them to the states and by doing so stops all power whether corrupt or not from having complete ontrol.States cannot relinquish these powers but are blackmailed all thetime when the Feds want their way.
    Wake up Australia.We do not need identity cards.We have damn drivers licenses.We have Centrelink who remeber would never be able to cross link departments like the tax office but amazingly they do now.Every thing they say is for the good of Australia is only a power trip for the Feds.Wake up Australia for Gods sake,We literally have a dictator running our country who smiles while he is screwing you in the back.Damn Government,he was forced to put a susnet clause in as he should have been forced too with the gunlaws in 1996.I noticed the US dropped their Assault weapons ban as it didnt work and was a waste of money.Even New Zealand who had registration went back to just licensing people not the guns and it works very well.Cananda is struggling with Registration and is looking like failing as it is blowing out by billions.For all the money spent so far on????what ,they still are adding more powersand has nything happened lately???
    Wake up Australia you are being screwed.This land is becoming a Police state.perhaps thats why we are so friendly with China ,they want to adapt some of their rules eh?
    Come on!!I have been to the USA a number of times and my wifes family is there .I felt safer there where people have concealed carry permits than on the Gold Coast on a Friday night.I was in a State where gunlaws are very lax and it is a a extremely safe place to live.Its interesting how Scotland and England who have almost toal gun bans have the most serious and highest Assaults rapes,murders per 100,000 people compared to gun toting countries like Israel,USA,and a few others are a way down the list.All I want to know is why do our law enforcement need more powers than the FBI when we do not have the Ammendments of the constitution that guarentee them certain rights.Perhaps we really do have a lot of those rights but have been hoodwinked by a power hungry government who cares nothing for you and me.Apparently more Concrete is being poured in Canberra than when they built the blown out costed Parliment.They are obviously building bunkers for the important people like Politicians.
    Come on Wake up before its
    anonymous