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Who has Australia’s script for national digital identity program?

Age verification expanding in NSW
Who has Australia’s script for national digital identity program?

Public comments about what Australia’s digital ID system would be used for and who would be involved raised eyebrows in the Digital Transformation Agency enough to confuse a face scan, according to a report by Crikey.

Australia’s former minister of government services, Stuart Robert, suggested during a television interview last year that the system – part of the Trusted Digital Identity Bill — could be used to identify people operating anonymous accounts on social media.

That would be considered an unexpected expansion by some DTA staff, who sought clarification and advised against scope creep.

The minister’s proposal would only work if Australians were forced to link their social media accounts to their digital ID, a requirement not included in the bill.

Nor was Mastercard’s announcement of involvement in the government’s planned age verification system cleared by the DTA.

It appears Yoti is the rare player here on script. Crikey says Yoti’s involvement shows the desire of private sector players to get involved in the system.

The launch of Australia’s national digital ID system has been otherwise fraught as well. The Australian National Audit Office’s plan for the coming fiscal year proposes that the program be reviewed, according to iTnews.

The proposed audits could also include a review of how sensitive personal information held by the tax office and Services Australia are protected. The same is true for the digital health system.

The audit office is already investigating a problematic procurement process that led to a contract for a digital permissions service won by Accenture.

Age verification advances

The government of New South Wales has set a deadline for some alcohol delivery services to enable age verification, through the Trusted Digital Identity Framework or an alternative, BrewsNews writes.

The requirements were originally slated to come into force in June, but are now set for September 1.

Allowable alternative methods of age verification include the use of artificial intelligence or a statement from the purchaser.

Yoti Regional Director Darren Pollard says, “The sector that is impacted by the laws is very narrow. It’s same-day delivery providers, providing alcohol over the same 24-hour period either via a website or over the phone, and for NSW only.”

The sector has relied on age-gating, where a site splash page is presented, and customers are asked if they are over 18.

“Those age-gate technologies don’t actually do anything, there’s nothing behind them, it’s just a button,” Pollard says.

Similar regulations are inevitable for other retailers, he says.

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