Now the DTA wants its digital ID used for porn age verification

It would require for the program to be extended to the private sector.

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) believes the Australian government's digital identity play would be a valuable tool in verifying an individual's age before allowing them access to online pornographic material.

In a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs' inquiry, launched in September, the DTA said its program could be used to reduce technological barriers in achieving stronger age verification requirements by providing a "convenient alternative for users to verify their age".

Read more: More privacy conscious and not Australia Card 2.0: DTA defends digital identity play

"Digital Identity does not involve a unique identifier, nor does it allow tracking of online activities. Instead, it provides a means for a person to authenticate their identity online," the DTA wrote in its submission [PDF].

The agency said its Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) and other governance frameworks would extend to any online wagering and online pornography sites which seek to verify age through the Digital Identity system.

Currently, the DTA has granted two ID providers "trusted identity service provider" status, with the first being myGovID, handled by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

According to the DTA, it is like the 100 point ID check but on a smart device, and it allows citizens to have their identity verified so they can access government services using that verified identity, rather than being verified continually by each Commonwealth entity.

Australia Post was also given accreditation in July.

"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," Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert said in announcing the postal service that wants to run elections on blockchain-based technology had scored accreditation.

Robert opened discussions in September on how the private sector could become involved in the government's digital identity ecosystem.

"The current Digital Identity system only provides access to selected federal government services. While the system is expected to allow access to private sector and state/territory government services, this is some way down the track and will require both legislative and technological change," the DTA said in its submission.

"The use of Digital Identity to achieve age verification for all global online wagering and online pornography sites would require the expansion of the Australian Digital Identity system to international private entities."

The DTA's remarks follow a submission from the Department of Home Affairs last month that said it wanted its Face Verification Service and Document Verification Service used for the same reason.

"Whilst they are primarily designed to prevent identity crime, Home Affairs would support the increased use of the Document and Face Verification Services across the Australian economy to strengthen age verification processes," Home Affairs wrote.

Home Affairs conceded the Face Verification Service was not operational, as it relied on the passage of biometric legislation through Parliament, which was interrupted in October by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security which said the Bills did not have sufficient privacy safeguards and needed to be redrafted.

RELATED COVERAGE