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Limited number of private sector national digital ID providers for Australia

Govt only anticipates 5 to 10 accreditations
Limited number of private sector national digital ID providers for Australia

Australia’s government anticipates “5 to 10” private sector digital identity providers, and possibly more later on, participating in the country’s national ID scheme. The estimate was made by Finance Minister Katy Gallagher to ABC News Breakfast and reported by InnovationAus.

Five companies have already been approved under the Trusted Digital Identity Framework, which underpins the Australian Government Digital ID System (AGDIS) Accreditation Scheme. AGDIS accreditations are expected to begin within two years, following amendments to the bill to gain opposition support in the senate.

Australia Post, IDVerse, Mastercard and Makesure, a domestic background screening provider, are accredited identity service providers. Mastercard and eftpos are also accredited as exchange operators under the TDIF.

The system will not expand to “hundreds” of digital ID providers in the future, Gallagher clarified.

Paul Fletcher, a spokesperson for the opposition Coalition, told Sky News that Australia’s Digital ID bill does not include sufficient safeguards to ensure that people who opt against getting a digital ID will be “discriminated against.” Fletcher also criticized the delay in private sector participation and in anticipated changes to the Privacy Act.

The initial accreditations under the TDIF were issued in 2019 while Fletcher was the Minister for Families and Social Services in the Coalition government.

Digital ID bill one step from becoming law

The Senate approved the government’s Digital ID bill, which will go on to become law, late last week.

According to a report from ABC News, the bill establishes a “voluntary identity verification service,” building on the myGovID program already used by 10.5 million Australians. The government hopes to set up a formal legal framework so the system can be expanded first to state and territory governments and then to private companies who seek accreditation, conditional upon them agreeing to adhere to certain restrictions on the use of customer data.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, where it will be passed into law. However, bickering over legitimate privacy concerns continues, as the government struggles to win public trust in a national digital identity system – something that critics say a lax approach to data security and privacy laws will not help.

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