Insights & Analyses

Australian government reveals decentralized national digital identity plans

November 16, 2017

Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency has published its proposal for a national digital identity system, and is now seeking public comments on the matter, as it plans to launch a decentralized identity system where individuals will choose their own identity provider.

Dubbed the “Trusted Digital Identity Framework,” Australia’s goal is to make it easier and more secure for citizens to access government security online. The government has been working with privacy and industry groups, as well as various agencies, to help shape the draft framework.

The framework includes 14 key documents that detail digital identity requirements, including the process for accrediting providers, privacy and security considerations, risk and fraud management, and standards for usability and accessibility.

Interested parties can provide feedback over the next few weeks, until the window closes on Friday, Dec. 8.

“The framework sets out a nationally-consistent approach to how digital identity will managed,” Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said.

The documentation details a new identity exchange created by the agency, which utilizes a double-blind verification procedure to verify identity without revealing individual credentials, according to ITNews. There will be a single government identity provider, while others will operate independently, and users can choose whichever identity verification provider they prefer.

The system will have four different levels of assurance depending on needs, ranging from “IP1” to “IP4.” At the lowest level, providers will just need to verify basic, non-biographical contact details, while “IP2” might require a photo ID or passport. “IP3” will require a “commencement of identity” documents like a birth certificate, while the highest level will require documentation to be brought to an in-person interview with the identity provider.

The framework will sit alongside the Digital Transformation Agency’s Govpass technology, which remains in private beta for the time being.

Once the system goes live, citizens will be able to set up a digital identity once, then complete their business with a range of online government services.

Certified identity providers will be accredited and deemed trustworthy. The Australia Post mailing service has already signaled that it intends to be among the first to become an identity service provider.