Canberra wants to open digital identity system to commercial sector

The federal government has opened discussions on how the commercial sector can participate in Australia's digital identity system.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The federal government has opened discussions on how best to incorporate the commercial sector into its digital identity play.

The Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF), according to Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert, will provide the standards that ensure everyone has a safe, secure, and reliable way to use government services online.

"Australians rightly expect government services to be simple, seamless, and safe. The standards established through this framework will enable government to meet this expectation, ensuring Australians have secure and reliable access to digital government services," Robert said.

"Digital identity, underpinned by this framework, will enable faster, simpler services for government and the digital economy. Whether through implementing new data sharing arrangements or through improving the Trusted Digital Identity Framework, we are driving improvements right across government service delivery and putting in place the building blocks for Services Australia."

See also: Services Australia has six weeks to work out what exactly it's meant to do

The fourth iteration of the framework, Robert said, will set the requirements for commercial sector providers seeking to undergo accreditation.

Consultation follows Australia Post already being handed the accreditation of being a "trusted identity service provider" in July.

Australia Post joined myGovID as an accredited trusted identity provider. MyGovID was quietly launched in the app store a little under three months ago.

"The introduction of Australia Post as a second identity provider into the digital identity system is one of the foundational steps needed for the system to develop into a true whole of economy solution," Robert said in announcing the postal service that wants to run elections on blockchain-based technology that had scored accreditation.

The TDIF Accreditation Authority has granted accreditation to the Australian Taxation Office, which in addition to being responsible for myGovID, is also the Relationship Authorisation Manager and Credential Service Provider. The Department of Human Services is also accredited for its Identity Exchange.

According to Robert, the future of the system sees the involvement of many government agencies, banks, and other organisations.

See also: RBA wants banks involved in Australian government digital identity solution

The Australian government unveiled in November 2017 the public draft of its TDIF for how citizens' digital identity information must be managed.

The TDIF sets the rules and requirements for participants of the digital identity system, with the government saying it delivers on the privacy, safety, and security expectations of users.

The TDIF sits alongside the federal government's Govpass digital platform, which was given an additional AU$67.1 million under the 2019-20 Budget.

Robert, who in October was found to have spent 20 times more than other MPs on his home internet -- clocking up more than AU$2,000 a month and blaming "connectivity issues" for the high costs -- assumed responsibility for government service delivery in late May, following machinery of government changes that were made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison after his election win. 

Robert was earlier this month detailed as being owed at least AU$410,000 following his investment in a failed health company headed by a convicted rapist.

Following the consultation, Robert said the fourth iteration of the TDIF is expected to be released in early 2020.


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