Australia trails other countries in creating digital identities

The government response to the Murray report has agreed with the recommendation to adopt a “federated-style model of trusted digital identities”. In other words, a system for digital identification.

A robust form of digital identification could be used to tackle the rise in identity fraud, shorten waiting times for services, reduce paper use, and save a lot of money. MyGov, the government’s digital identity system, is expected to save around $547 million over 10 years, for example.

A KPMG report highlights the importance of more secure identification, claiming that fraud costs consumers $89 million, and businesses $8.5 billion every year.

KPMG say digital identification is a requisite for Australia to “fully embrace digital consumerism”.

“Together with the Government’s Cyber Security Review and the new Australian Privacy Principles, it will provide a more robust economic environment both within Australia and internationally,” the report reads.

The government has made moves towards the creation of a full digital identification system.

The last federal budget included $95.4 million to create the Digital Transformation Office (DTO). Part of this was for looking into digital identities.

In July, the DTO announced it would start exploring the space:

Wouldn’t it be great if you could securely access public services without needing to bring along a dozen forms of ID every time you did?

We want to deliver a way for citizens and businesses to transact with public services simply and securely.

The solution isn’t simple, but we’re committed to developing a Trusted Digital Identity Framework. And we want the Australian community to help us get there.

Since then there have been no more updates on the DTO blog about digital identities.

In response to questions from Business Insider, a DTO spokesman said: “We’ll examine a range of different international models for identity frameworks including US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.”

No more updates on the new system were forthcoming.

The UK and Italy, meanwhile, have moved ahead with their digital identity systems. Italy’s system aims to cover 10 million people by 2017, and can be used by both the government and corporations.

The United Kingdom have rolled out a system that allows residents to apply for drivers’ licenses and passports, and file their taxes, using a secure account. When a user creates an account they can unlock increasing amounts of services the more data they provide, and the more sure the system is of who they are.

There are reports that private corporations are interested in this system.

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