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Australia’s digital ID may launch in July, here’s what to expect

Australia’s digital ID may launch in July, here’s what to expect
 

Australia’s government has offered a tentative rollout date for its nationwide digital ID, setting it on July 1st, 2024. The exact date, however, will depend on the timing of its legislation which is due to be adopted by the federal parliament.

First introduced to Parliament in November, Australia’s Digital ID Bill reached its closing date in late January after receiving submissions from business and financial groups as well as civil rights organizations. Currently, the government is in consultation with the states, ChannelNews Australia reports.

The Department of Finance told the media outlet that the new system will allow users to choose their preferred digital ID provider for accessing government and private services. Private organizations can apply to be accredited as digital ID services from the Trusted Digital Identity Framework” (TDIF), the federal government’s accreditation framework. Among companies that have already received accreditation are Australia Post, MasterCard and OCR Labs (IDVerse) while banks and other institutions have expressed interest.

“The legislation will enable the expansion of the Australian Government Digital ID System to include state, territory and private sector organizations that choose to participate,” a spokesperson says.

The national digital ID will function like an expanded version of MyGovID, which Australians already use to access the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink and Medicare. The country is planning on keeping other digital IDs such as those created by governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and possibly others. Officials dismissed concerns that it would lead to duplication with the state-level digital ID system.

All accredited digital ID systems will be expected to observe the same three levels of security standards with the highest one including registering user biometrics. A user will be able to generate a multipoint image on a device that will be checked against their passport photo and, in the future, driver’s license. Establishing your credentials only needed to be done once, officials say.

Once the legislation passes through the federal parliament, the new national digital ID will roll out in several phases, according to an explainer published by consumer protection group Choice.

During the first phase, the government will work on setting up a regulator and expanding its use. In phase two, local state and territory digital IDs will be used to access Commonwealth services while phase three will see myGovID used in the private sector. In the final phase, Australians will be able to use privately created digital IDs that have received accreditation for accessing some government services.

Australia’s new digital ID system has promised to solve previous ID systems’ vulnerability to scams and fraud which has cost the government billions of dollars.

Personal data supplied to receive the new digital ID will be encrypted, making it difficult for third parties to view or share it, including the digital identity provider itself. Since a wide range of public and private organizations will supply digital IDs, data will not be gathered in a central database that criminals can target.

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