The fight for AU’s digital ID

Published on the 30/10/2019 | Written by Jonathan Cotton

Australia digital identity TrustID

You snooze, you lose: New ID framework looks set to eclipse MyGov…

Put together by the Australian Payments Council (APC) and funded by the Reserve Bank et al, Australia has a new player in its digital ID economy: TrustID.

The news, revealed through Payments System Board’s (PSB) annual report, finds the industry organisation well underway with its plans for a digital identity framework.

“In June, the APC reached a significant milestone by completing the first version of a ‘TrustID’ digital identity framework,” the report says.

Promising ‘significant security and efficiency benefits for Australia’s increasingly digital economy’, it’s hoped the framework will spur the launch of a new ecosystem of digital identity solutions in Australia, and ultimately bring about ‘the emergence of an interoperable network of competing digital identity solutions’.

Digital identity established by a private sector provider under TrustID will eventually be able to be used to access Government services, and vice versa.

“The framework is designed to allow individuals to establish their digital identity online with a preferred service provider and then to use those credentials to prove who they are when interacting online with businesses, including when making online payments.”

The organisation says that as an ecosystem of digital identity services emerges, it will improve the convenience and security of online interactions, enhance privacy and data security, and reduce costs related to identifying customers, such as those associated with ‘know-your-customer’ processes.

It all looks great on paper, but brings up the question: What will happen with Government’s existing government-focused (and widely criticised) digital ID offering, MyGov?

That’s the interesting part: The Payments Council says it has engaged with the Government to ensure the TrustID framework is compatible with the Digital Transformation Agency’s Trusted Digital Identity Framework, a set of rules and standards created along with MyGov that ‘accredited members of the digital identity federation must follow’. That scheme would require the Payments Council to participate in the government digital identity system currently under development: MyGov.

That’s taken care of, says the Payment Council, with citizens able to access MyGov services via the TrustID system.

“The intention is that a digital identity established by a private sector provider under the TrustID framework will eventually be able to be used to access Government services, and vice versa.”

The Payment Systems Board’s victory comes at a time when the DTA is facing some scrutiny over the failure of the myGovID – managed by Australian Taxation Office – to bear fruit.

GovPass received more than AU$67 million in funding in the last Federal Budget and $92 million in 2018. That funding was provided to support the development of the underlying infrastructure of the system and roll out pilot programs that commenced in 2018-19, as well as support ‘further analysis’ of the requirements for the full rollout of GovPass.

“The GovPass Program is a key component in the further digital transformation of government and supports the Government’s commitment to better and more accessible digital services.”

No timeline has yet been announced for the TrustID rollout.

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