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After a pause, signs of life for New South Wales’ decentralized digital ID pilots

After a pause, signs of life for New South Wales’ decentralized digital ID pilots

Trials of the NSW government’s digital ID program are expected to recommence within the year, the first to be conducted since March, reports InnovationAus.com.

Questions about the long-term fate of the NSW Digital ID program have hovered since Premier Chris Minns was sworn in this past April. But according to former chief digital officer and current Service NSW chief executive Greg Wells, the government has made it a priority to ramp up the pilots and procure biometrics platforms that will make the program sustainable in the long term.

“They’re platforms that enable both the digital identity side of this – so biometric matching and those things that are important to make sure we can bind identity to foundational sources – as well as platforms to support the sharing of credentials,” says Wells. “We see both of those things as foundational to what we want to do.”

Presently, the government has deals with BRYK Group, whose FaceTec platform is providing  foundational photo verification after the signing of a contract worth $3.5 million (about US$2.25 million). The verifiable credentials piece that rounds out the digital ID hub and wallet is provided by the major telco Spark’s subsidiary, MATTR, who signed a deal for $16.8 million.

As is often the case, however, sustained funding remains a moving target. New South Wales’ Digital Restart Fund, created in 2019 and boosted by a $1.6 billion investment the following year, is set to be exhausted by the end of this fiscal year unless additional funding is allocated. The Minns government says it is fully committed to maintaining the fund – a statement that the re-ignited digital ID pilots would seem to back up.

“There is one pilot that we’re in the final stages of doing various user acceptance and security testing on,” says Wells. “So, there’s one planned for this year and a couple early next year as well.”

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