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New Zealand digital ID trust framework nears passage into law

New Zealand digital ID trust framework nears passage into law

A draft piece of legislation that gives New Zealanders more control on how to manage and share their digital identity information in a secure and trusted manner is expected to soon be enacted after it passed first reading in Parliament.

A government press release quotes Digital Economy and Communications Minister Dr. David Clark as saying the draft legislation, known as the Digital Identity Services Trust Framework Bill, will now be sent to the Committee on Economic Development, Science and Innovation for review and public consultation.

He said the work on the legal instrument is part of government efforts to give citizens greater control and make it easier for them to share digital ID information with companies.

“COVID-19 has shown that when face-to-face interactions prove difficult, we need trusted digital services. We know New Zealanders want control over their identity information and how it’s used by the companies and services they share it with and this will help make that easier. Whether it’s opening a bank account, sharing our medical history, conducting business online, or applying for Government services like the wage subsidy, it’s vital we trust the systems we use, and that service providers know what’s expected of them,” said Clark.

The Bill defines how personal and organizational information is shared, stored, and used in a digital environment. The system includes a voluntary accreditation scheme that will outline how sensitive information should be managed by identity services providers.

“The Trust Framework enables Kiwi businesses to provide trusted digital identity services that provide private, secure, and efficient digital identity verification. There are also economic benefits to having trusted and regulated digital identity services…The framework will make it easier for people to complete certain transactions online. That’s because accredited businesses will be recognized by a ‘trust mark,’ making them eligible for streamlined processes,” he explained.

The Minister added that work is also in progress to make it possible for the digital identity of New Zealanders to be recognized overseas, such as in Australia, which is working towards the passage of its own Trusted Digital Identity Framework.

Clark said the move also solidifies the country’s position as an innovator in digital identity technology.

Trust frameworks for digital ID are being adopted by governments around the world, such as in Britain and Canada.

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