Australia Digital Transformation Agency to integrate biometrics with myGov this year

Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is about to begin replacing the existing myGov authentication system with the new myGovID, iTnews.com.au reports. Speaking at SailPoint’s Navigate conference, DTA Head of Digital Identity Jonathan Thorpe said that the integration is expected to be completed during the current fiscal year.

The integration has long been anticipated, according to the report, but finally received funding in the federal budget this year. The myGovID app showed up in Apple’s App Store in recent weeks, but the opt-in system only works so far with the Australian Tax Office’s business portals, replacing the AUSKey credential.

“If you’re trying to participate in the economy, maybe need some help with welfare, what if you could reuse your digital identity in myGov to get the service you need,” Thorpe says. “So we’re integrating these two systems through a series of pilots this year to obviously uplift the credential strength [and] make it more like a banking experience, so you can look at your phone to login or TouchID to login as an example.”

The DTA is looking into reducing the number of questions the government asks to link services and perform other functions, which Thorpe says cause some users problems, and the agency will soon test users’ preference for myGovID against the Digital ID offering from Australia Post, which was accredited as a trusted provider in July.

Thorpe also addressed allegations that myGovID is a honey-pot for hackers, saying that the echange mechanism verifies individuals’ credentials without revealing their identity to service providers, and that after processing by the government’s document verification service and face verification service, the data is discarded.

“A key feature of this system is the users actually have control over their identity. It isn’t stored anywhere, and they choose where their identity information is passed through to,” Thorpe notes. “We don’t store the biometrics, and we don’t even store the photo.”

Enticing Australians to use the service will depend on offering services that provide them with value, Thorpe says.

Australia’s government has been working to make more services available with facial biometrics, reintroducing the identity matching services bill for a second attempt weeks ago.

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