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Australia Post comes out ahead in nationwide digital ID push

Australia’s nationwide digital identity program took a significant step forward in July, with a fresh winner of sorts emerging from the ongoing effort.

The Australia Post, the country’s postal service, according to a recent report, “is now considered a trusted provider of a digital proof-of-identity service under the framework administered by the federal Digital Transformation Agency, two years after introducing its Digital iD service.”

The digital ID offering from Australia Post was launched in 2017, but it only recently “became the second digital identity service provider to receive the trust-mark this week, with the Digital iD system joining the Commonwealth’s own myGovID product, which is in a trial phase.” Not only that, but Australia Post reported it is the first organization this is not wholly within government to receive that mark from the Digital Transformation Agency. Australia Post is proposing a solution that puts the user in control of their identity and attributes.

Nationwide digital ID goals

The idea behind Australia’s nationwide digital identity effort is to give Australians a choice about how to prove their identity online or via mobile devices — which underscores the significance of this news about the Australia Post offering. “In the future, we look forward to having many government agencies, banks, or other organizations undergo accreditation to become part of the identity system,” Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert told reporters in that country.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much funding has been directed to the Australia Post effort, but reports have stated that the myGovID project has received (AUS) $67.2 million in this year’s federal budget (that’s about US$47.7 million), giving an idea of how much money is going toward the nationwide digital ID effort.

Based on previous survey research conducted with local citizens, the case for digital identity in that country seems pretty clear. Australians prove their identities hundreds of millions of time each year for a wide array of in-person, on the phone and online transactions. It is cumbersome, insecure and survey respondents are sick of it, according to the report, which came from Australia Post.

The spread of digital ID will have a positive economic impact, according to that report. “If (consumers) could reuse a verified identity held within a mobile device, it would be more secure than a driver’s license or peripheral hard documents. It could “unlock up to (AUS) $11 billion in economic value for the Australian economy.”

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