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Universal digital IDs are one step closer

by Matthew Smith | 19 Apr 2017
The government wants to work with banks and other private sector organisations able to vouch for peoples’ identities to propel forward the concept of a universal digital identity, according to the head of a government agency working on the project.Digital ID
 
The agency known as the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is looking to set up what it describes as a “federation of verifiers”, comprising of companies including banks, which are able the perform identity verifications.
 
The broad vision for the program is for digital identities to pave the way to better and easier transactions and reduce the problem of people needing to prove themselves again and again in the digital environment, according to Rachel Dixon, the DTA’s head of identity.
 
The idea for the federation is related to the government’s Govpass project and is part of its Trusted Digital Identity Framework project.
 
Govpass is now officially in private “beta stage” meaning its has working software it’s testing with real users gathering test data, Dixon explains to InFinance.
 
By the middle of this year the DTA plans to have a product available to be tested by selected individuals; early next year, a public beta will be available to everyone to test on a limited number of services, she explains
 
Dixon highlights that the DTA is working closely with other government departments as well as privacy and civil liberties advocacy groups to get their advice and feedback about the project.
 


The blockchain game


The government’s progress on the creation of digital identities to enable individuals to interact seamlessly with multiple agencies is happening in parallel with the finance and banking industry’s progress on the creation of universal digital identities.
 
Digital identities are an important feature underpinning the distributed ledger systems that banks are racing to build to make transactions more seamless and frictionless.
 
The importance of universal digital identification to Commonwealth’s blockchain solutions is highlighted in this recent InFinance article.
 
Dixon says the DTA would like to find ways to draw on some of the work already being done by the banks and other financial services providers.
 
The federation of verifiers concept would enable individuals to choose where they prefer to have their digital identification verified.
 
Dixon also highlights that a key element of the proposed federation involves setting standards and rules that can be used by government and the private sector.

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