Australia dedicates AU$93M to digital identity and blockchain

The Australian government has awarded the nation’s Digital Transformation Agency AU$92.4 million to build the next phase of its digital identity system, making it easier for citizens to access government services online.

The system, called Govpass, was awarded the money from the country’s 2018-2019 budget, announced on Wednesday. Officials plan to offer access to up to eight high-volume government services with the new digital identity platform, reaching more than 500,000 people.

A trio of government agencies will come together to roll out Australia’s digital identity system. The Digital Transformation Agency will develop a Trusted Digital Identity Framework to accredit identity providers, Australia’s Taxation Office will handle the step of Verification, and the Department of Human Services will operate a technology gateway between accredited identity providers and the services that people use.

The framework for the governments decentralized Trusted Digital Identity Framework were unveiled last November, detailing how the identity exchange uses a double-blind verification procedure to verify identity without revealing individual credentials.

In another decentralized push, the Australian government’s budget also includes AU$700,000 to investigate the benefits of using blockchain for government services. With the funds, officials will conduct research to assess blockchain technology and identify problems it might be able to solve.

With that research, the government plans to develop solutions for problems identified, with the hope of delivering improved and simplified digital government services — potentially tapping into its digital identity framework.

OWI Take: Australia continues to be a worldwide leader in pushing for digital identity and trusted frameworks. The country will also allow private enterprises to become certified identity providers, deeming them accredited and trustworthy. Other nations will be watching closely to see how the program performs as it transitions out of beta and is used by the general public.