Digital ID doesn’t have to be a card, and can reduce privacy risk

As the need for a digital identity framework grows, Australian agencies don’t need to completely abandon the 100-points system. Former privacy commissioner Malcolm Crompton explains the options that agencies have and can take up to reduce risk.

Governments are playing an increasingly active role in the development of a digital identity framework, and the options are almost endless. But it need not be so different to the old 100-point system that has served Australia since the late eighties, according to a former federal privacy commissioner turned information management consultant.

Malcolm Crompton

Malcolm Crompton

In 2012, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet looked at possible ways to bring about a “National Trusted Identities Framework”. It was assisted by Information Integrity Solutions, a consultancy run by former privacy commissioner, finance sector veteran and one-time senior public servant Malcolm Crompton, which set out the options and talked to finance, communications and technology stakeholders as well as non-government advocates for privacy and consumer rights. IIS then produced a discussion paper to elicit further input, before the NTIF was put on the backburner.

Australia’s 100-point identity check, introduced in 1988, balanced the need for stronger verification to reduce fraud in the financial system with widespread privacy concerns, which led to the Hawke government’s Australia Card being shot down in the Senate a few years earlier. Crompton sees it as an elegant solution that broadly exemplifies what a good digital identity framework should also look like.

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