The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is currently testing the federal government's digital identification solution for its online tax file number application process. Govpass, the Digital Transformation Agency's (DTA) digital identification play, aims to make the process of proving who you are to government services online "simple, safe, and secure". In a statement on Thursday, Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor explained that there are 750,000 applications for tax file numbers every year. Currently, applications can only be completed by visiting an Australia Post or Centrelink shopfront, or by sending certified copies of identity documents to the ATO via post, with the process taking roughly 40 days to complete. Taylor expects Govpass will reduce the time down to minutes.
The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is aiming to provide everyone in Australia with a digital identity, expected to make the process of proving who an individual is to government "simple, safe, and secure" online, with the idea to create a "tell us once" approach to government service delivery. The platform was revealed last week during Senate Estimates as being in final beta stage, with the next step to take it live and the first service transaction being the process of applying for a tax file number. The federal government detailed what its digital identification solution will look like in a video posted on YouTube last October. To register for a Govpass, citizens will need to enter a handful of personal details, such as their email address, mobile number, and a "backup" email address, with the authentication process jumping between both text message and email validation. Medicare card details, as well as driver's licence or birth certificate information are also required, either by entering the information into an online form or uploading a photograph of the government-issued identification document.
Dardo highlighted that in moving services online, a big part of the security piece is tied up with the idea of identity. "If you don't have good identity, identity systems, and good tokens, then clearly that becomes a risk to the system because you really don't know who you're transacting with digitally," he explained. "If we fix identity and get it to a really sexy thing ... [we can look at] what would that look like in terms of saved red tape or paper reductions." Govpass, the Digital Transformation Agency's (DTA) digital identification offering, aims to make the process of proving who you are to government services online "simple, safe, and secure", with Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor touting the platform as a faster, simpler way to move between online services. "The Australian government has more than 30 different logins for digital services.
The federal government has decided to take the hosting element of its digital identification play, Govpass, in-house, ending the contract with cloud services provider Vault Systems as a result. A spokesperson for the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), the government entity charged with Govpass, told ZDNet that Vault Systems, operating as the wholesale provider for Gulanga, was engaged for a period of 12 months and that the contract has since lapsed. Vault was charged from January 2017 with providing a hosting environment for the digital identity system prototypes. The company, which is accredited by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) at a protected level, allowing it to store highly classified government information on its cloud platform, only went public with its Govpass hosting contract in December. "Privacy and protection of personal information is at the heart of the DTA's work on digital identity.