Race for identity has a winner

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

Australia Post has become the first entity outside of government to be approved as a “trusted” digital identity provider by the Commonwealth tech tsars.

In fact, the Australia Post Digital iD was accredited against the Digital Transformation Agency’s Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) before the government’s own system, myGovID.

The government announced on Wednesday that Australia Post’s Digital iD had been accredited against its rules and standards for digital identity providers, saying it was the second such service to do so, behind its own myGovID.

But Australia Post actually received approval weeks before the government’s offering.

The government is developing a “trusted ecosystem of organisations” that offer digital identity services, giving users a choice of providers. It has developed its own digital identity offering, with the Australian Taxation Office working on myGovID.

To be included in the ecosystem, an organisation’s digital identity service must be accredited against the TDIF, a set of rules developed by the Digital Transformation Agency.

Government Services minister Stuart Robert announced that Australia Post’s Digital iD had successfully been accredited against the TDIF.

It was touted as being the first industry offering to be accredited, but Australia Post’s offering was actually approved two months ago in May, before the government’s own myGovID was approved.

The DTA’s own website confirms that Australia Post received accreditation on 17 May, while the government’s own myGovID was approved weeks later on 30 May.

Australia Post was approved on the day before the federal election, while the government’s service received the honour less than two weeks after the Coalition was returned to office.

Mr Roberts’ own statement claimed that Australia Post was the second service to be accredited.

“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,” Mr Roberts said.

It appears Australia Post may have let it slip though, claiming in a statement to be the first service to achieve accreditation.

“We are very proud to be the first to obtain this accreditation,” Australia Post general manager of identity products and services Regis Bauchiere said in a statement.

The ATO’s myGovID entered a public beta testing stage last month and became available through the Apple App Store, allowing users to create a digital identity to log into government services.

The government’s overall digital identity project is designed to have multiple identity providers, giving users more choice. The TDIF, used to approve potential providers, was developed over four years.

Australia Post began work on its digital identity project in 2016 and is widely seen as the industry leader in the space. It launched to the public in early 2017 and has been piloted with numerous companies, including Queensland Police, CUA and Airtasker.

Australia Post is understood to have sought accreditation from the government for several months.

The myGovID is running in direct competition to AusPost’s Digital iD and any other potential offering from the private sector or state governments.

The federal government has allocated nearly $170 million to its digital identity project, with a number of trials now underway. MyGovID is currently being trialled through Tax File Number applications.

The TDIF is used by the government to ensure that all official identity providers meet privacy and security requirements, Mr Robert said.

“The Morrison government continues to build trust, privacy and security into the digital identity system. It is designed to ensure that the identity system is reliable, trustworthy and meets user needs,” he said.

“This makes sure every government agency and organisation that becomes part of the identity system is held to the same high standards. In the future, we look forward to having many government agencies, banks or other organisations undergo accreditation to become part of the identity system.

“Providing Australians with choice and control of who they share identity information with was one of the recommendations of the financial services inquiry that we have delivered on.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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