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New Zealand digital identity regulator opens doors, ushering in era of digital ID

Major tech players, government agencies expected to apply for authority to digitize
New Zealand digital identity regulator opens doors, ushering in era of digital ID

New Zealand’s digital identity regulator is now live. The Trust Framework Authority, which will determine which organizations are verified to provide compliant digital identity services, is up and running as of July 1.

The digital ID regulator is expected to appoint its director in the coming days.

New Zealand’s shift toward digital credentials is intended to expedite access to government services and transactions like opening a bank account, by moving identity verification to mobile and away from physical documents. Digital ID will also eventually be accepted for age verification when accessing age-restricted goods and services.

Digitizing Government Minister Judith Collins has indicated that it is a precursor to the government’s planned launch of a mobile driver’s license (mDL), which the New Zealand Transit Authority (NZTA) began piloting in May with the trial launch of an app. There is also a plan to digitize the process to apply for and renew passports.

The digital ID scheme is opt-in, and Collins has addressed concerns about potential privacy risks and government overreach. Privacy complaints have spiked in New Zealand in the wake of facial recognition deployments by retailers. The nation’s privacy commissioner is pushing for tougher regulations on facial recognition and other biometric systems, and has issued a call for public feedback on a draft biometrics code governing the use of biometric technologies.

New Zealanders are familiar with the risk of data breaches and the need to ensure that digital identity providers can be trusted with their data. In 2023, a major data breach by financial services firm Latitude that exposed the data of one in five people in the country.

In a first reading of the Digital Identity Services Trust Framework Bill in 2021, then-Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications David Clark estimated that around $1.5 billion (US$910M) worth of value could be added to New Zealand’s economy “just through the increased security that this framework would provide.”

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One Reply to “New Zealand digital identity regulator opens doors, ushering in era of digital ID”

  1. There are some things to bear in mind regards NZ’s Trust Framework Authority ‘opening its doors’.
    1. It’s opt–in, not mandatory for all parties.
    2. The ‘final’rules need to be published and then gazetted in Parliament before it can materially take effect (later this year) so the 1st July date is ‘soft’ in as much as that expressions of interest can be submitted.
    3. Parts of the standards and rules specify decentralised tech where not all the international standards that the local ones reflect, are final or stable, so we can expect changes on this front.
    4. LoAs are at attribute level so RPs/Verifiers have significant risk analysis to do.

    But it’s a start and it’s better to start than not.

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