DTA seeking feedback on proposed Digital Identity laws

By Shannon Jenkins

November 18, 2020


The Digital Transformation Agency is seeking public comment on proposed laws that it says will “support and strengthen” an expanded Digital Identity system in Australia.

The DTA has released a public consultation paper on the proposed legislation, which aims to enhance existing privacy and consumer safeguards for the Digital Identity system and establish permanent governance arrangements.

While the system currently only offers services provided by federal government agencies, the government plans to roll out a whole-of-economy Digital Identity system that can be used by other jurisdictions and the private sector. According to the DTA, the expanded system will:

  • Enable Australians to prove who they are online and reduce the administrative burden for small and medium businesses,
  • Support an increased number of Australians to transact end-to-end digitally, improve privacy and accessibility, and reduce fraud,
  • Enable innovative digital sectors of the economy to flourish.

With more than 1.8 million individuals and 1.2 million businesses using myGovID, the legislation aims to ensure all Australians have trust and confidence in the system as it expands. The laws will “establish permanent governance structures for the system as well as enshrine in law a range of privacy and consumer protections in relation to the system”, the DTA says.

The legislation also deals with issues such as human rights, biometrics, and privacy.

The system is currently governed by an interim Oversight Authority within the DTA, with operational support functions being delivered by Services Australia. Under the proposed laws, a permanent, independent Oversight Authority body (or bodies) will be established. The DTA says this will be guided by the principles of independence, transparency, and accountability.

The DTA will be accepting submissions until December 18.

Read more: Facial recognition aspect of government’s digital identity program to begin public testing mid-2020


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