Government mandating digital

Australians will see an ‘alpha’ version prototype of a new, national opt-in digital identity credential for government services as early as August this year; with a fuller version likely to emerge in 2017 according to the new Head of Identity at the Digital Transformation Office (DTO).

That’s the take from Rachel Dixon, the woman hand-picked to galvanise the agency’s efforts to develop a new user friendly, multi-agency key to provide secure and easy online access to government services and transactions for consumers.

Although Ms Dixon candidly admits that a lot of people are now using the DVS, she’s equally unequivocal that commercial providers don’t always get it right when it comes to estimating the size of a market or the level of competition in it.

“If you look at the experience in the UK, with that market, the original identity providers that went there with Verify, all overestimated the share of market they would get,” Ms Dixon said.

That’s something that obviously we’d want to take into account in our [DTO’s] commercial arrangements.

If we were going to establish that market, that would be a big consideration in our negotiations.” Opting in: what a Digital Identity will – and won’t – do It’s no secret that Australia two most recent attempts to launch a national, government issued identity credential or document ended in failure thanks to the complex and often toxic politics that surrounded them.

Although the DTO’s big ramp-up on digital identity and the ANAO probe into my Gov are not formally linked, the timing of the two announcements is so fortuitously close that it’s again rammed home the urgent need to arrest what DTO chief Paul Shetler has previously labelled the unacceptably high “failure cost” of poor and disconnected public services.’ What is it used for and what are they exposed to? “Identity is better thought of as the ability to have trust online. The ability for the government to trust that you are who you say you are.And for you to trust that the government will deal with you in a fair and protective way …“We have to give people a reason to want to have a credential to interact with government.In order for government to get the economic benefit of people doing things online, that comes back to consumers …

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what is good for people who use the system that are not in government.” That, Ms Dixon says, is why the DTO’s primary concern in terms of its research requires an “unpacking” of “where the problem points are in authentication and verification for consumers right now.” There is also a need to start defining how what is commonly called ‘identity’ works in enabling real-life transactions.

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