Australian government pushes for Digital ID system

Recent data hacks cited as calls for controversial system grow

Australian government pushes for Digital ID system
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The Optus hack is being used to argue for the urgent introduction of a digital identity for Australian citizens.

Federal Finance Minister Katy Gallagher will meet with digital ministers in the wake of the data breach to work on a national digital identity system.

Australia’s big four banks have all indicated their eagerness to assist with the project.

Meanwhile, NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello is promoting the idea at a state level.

More than 1.2 million Optus customers were directly affected by hackers who accessed customers’ personal information.

Dominello argues that moving to a national digital identity “would make the concept of 100 points of ID entirely redundant”.

“It also retires the need for organisations to hold on to people’s paper-based ID documents, and associated information, in their databases for years and years.”

The federally convened Data and Digital Ministers Meeting will take place in November, with Australian banks also on board to help implement a nation-wide digital system.

National Australian Bank chief of digital, data and analytics Angela Mentis said the banks would play an important role in bringing digital ID to the Australian market.

“We think digital identity will be the most crucial enabler of safe and secure interactions in our future economy and are certain that customers can have trust in this solution,” she said.

The Australian Banking Association says the country’s financial institutions were keen to help with securing “the digital environment”.

Australian National University Researcher Dr Vanessa Teague said people’s concerns about digital ID had eased since the Australia Card was rejected in the 1980s.

She said consumers had adopted the linked databases that people were concerned about, but without the benefits of digital ID.

A digital ID was necessary to protect consumers from cybercrime, she said.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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