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Australian Government receives green light for a National Digital ID system

The Australian Government receives approval from all states and territories to roll out the National Digital ID system.

The National Digital ID system is designed to create one-stop shop for Australian people interacting with government services. This would be similar to a MyGov account except it would be verified and used for local state and territory services too. The purpose of this system is to initiate an interoperable digital era of identification. No longer will individuals require physical passports or birth certificates when proving one’s identity. Citizens will be able to create digital IDs through federal, state and territory, or approved providers, such as a bank.

The National Digital ID system has been in development since 2015 but has only now seen state and territory approval. Digital ministers from each state and territory agreed to work towards a “world-first national trusted digital identity system”. As such, a draft bill known as the Trusted Digital Identity Bill was prepared last year and is now being decided on in each state and territory. Relevant ministers are currently assessing how the bill may be integrated to work with current local government systems.

However, experts in the field have suggested that this system and bill requires great scrutiny to be successful. Australian Privacy Foundation chair David Vaile stated that this system is akin to the Australia Card project in 1987. The Australia Card also related to a national ID card system but failed due to centralised government control and overreaching tracking. Conversely, the National Digital ID system is argued to be user-controlled with only the necessary identity information being conveyed to government services. What is clear is that this system and bill requires further consideration to ensure it does not undermine current privacy principles and legislation as well as data protection policies.

The question is, would you be willing to partake in the National Digital ID system?

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