Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency Says its New Digital Identity System will Verify Users to Access Wide Range of Online Services

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has been focused on developing the Australian digital identity system, so that locals can access essential government services in a simple and secure manner.

The new digital identity platform will allow individuals and Australian companies to verify their identities through a single, unified system. They’ll be able to use the system to securely access various government services online, which is somewhat similar to a 100-point identification check, however, it also includes advanced biometric checks.

The DTA is working with Services Australia, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Department of Home Affairs, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), in order to develop the digital identity service.

The system has been tested through various pilot programs for several years. In March 2020, the DTA said that the biometric component of its digital identity system would be available for general testing by the public by the summer of 2020.

The agency said that it wanted to make sure that the biometric component of the system was  “exactly where it needs to be.”

The DTA shared a document with the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology in which it noted that it was able to connect and test out various software products that allow users to compare their selfie picture to their passport photos, which helps verify their identities.

The DTA added that it has been able to update the system to support Australia’s Tax File Number application, Unique Student Identifier, Grants Recipient Portal, and ATO Business Portal – which are all currently being tested.

The nation’s Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF), which consists of a set of standards for digital identity verification, will be complementing the new online user ID system.

Australian government’s myGovID, managed by the ATO, and Australia Post’s digital identity system have been approved and added to the TDIF.

The myGovID mobile phone app has reportedly been downloaded more than 1.6 million times and over 1.2 million myGovID digital identities have been created.

The Select Committee is also exploring various other Fintech and Regtech solutions.

According to the DTA, the TrustID Framework aims to “facilitate the emergence of an interoperable network of competing digital identity solutions in Australia.”

The DTA explained:

“The framework is designed to allow individuals to establish a digital identity online with a preferred service provider, and then to use those credentials to verify who they are when interacting online with other business.”

It added:

“The TrustID framework complements the TDIF for the financial sector in that it promotes choice of identity providers and may be a path to increase the take-up of digital identity in the broader economy.”

The DTA will support open standards and encourage collaboration between industry participants so that it becomes easier and safer for people to access critical public and private sector services.

The DTA confirmed:

“This could include accessing innovative digital products and services provided by the financial services sector.”

It also mentioned:

“As Australia’s digital economy expands, digital identity will unlock more and more services and could become the preferred verification tool for users accessing government and private sector services alike.”

About AU$210 million (appr. $141.7 million) have been spent on developing Australia’s Digital Identity Program.

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