The government is looking to monetise its digital identity program as it prepares to allow state and territory governments and private sector companies to participate in the scheme which has already cost more than $200 million.
The digital identity program, dubbed GovPass, is ramping up after several years in the works in the background, with private sector organisations soon to be added to the scheme, biometrics to be introduced and a broad communications campaign to be rolled out.
GovPass is the federal government’s overarching digital identity program, led by the Digital Transformation Agency with involvement from several other departments. It aims to be a whole-of-government way to verify identity across government and private sector services, using a federated model with many different options available for users to choose from.
It has four elements: the Trusted Digital Identity Framework, the exchange gateway, the digital identity services and the service providers.
The scheme has cost more than $200 million since it was launched five years ago. It is now slowly emerging from the shadows and becoming increasingly available to the public, with the ATO’s accredited digital identity offering replacing the AUSKey in March.
The DTA plans to soon allow state and territory governments and private companies to be accredited and join the GovPass scheme, and is now looking to work out how to make money through the scheme.
Through a listing on its Digital Marketplace, the DTA is on the hunt for a strategy and policy officer to deliver a discussion paper on charging for use of the federated digital ID program by the end of next month.
“Extending the use of digital identity to state and territory services and other non-government parties is expected to increase the overall costs of delivering the digital identity program. Non-Commonwealth use of the digital identity platform will need to be funded through a charging arrangement,” the listing said.
The listing is only open for three days and was only made available to three invited sellers.
It’s unclear how the charging scheme would work, and whether the government would make state and territory governments or companies pay to be a part of the scheme and to have their digital identity service used to log on to myGov, for example.
The DTA declined to comment further on the plans to charge for the use of GovPass and the apparent plan to monetise the program.
“To ensure the integrity of the procurement process we are unable to provide information that is not currently available on the Digital Marketplace opportunity,” a DTA spokesperson said.
The discussion paper will detail a high-level charging model, a policy case and broad implementation plan for cost recovery, a risk assessment for this, the roles of each participant in the scheme and a framework for reviewing the strategy.
Private sector organisations will soon be accredited against the Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) and enter the digital ID ecosystem, joining Australia Post and the Australian Taxation Office.
The DTA recently finalised the TDIF and rules around accrediting entities, with this framework now set in stone for at least two years. It is also looking to hire someone to begin assessing entities seeking accreditation.
The DTA is also planning to incorporate the further use of biometrics in GovPass, recently commissioning a review into how the technology could be utilised. This will investigate the future uses of biometrics in digital identity, including face, voice, fingerprint, gait and device usage rhythm for the purpose of identity proofing and fraud management.
“The report will also analyse potential options for restricting the usage of biometrics within the ecosystem and the risks and benefits for those options,” the digital marketplace listing said.
Similarly to the charging listing, only three sellers were invited to pitch for this work.