Interoperability needed in digital identity push

  • By Christine St Anne

As the government signalled its push to develop its digital identity services, interoperability will be key in underpinning the roll-out of those services.

In the October budget, the government revealed that it would commit $256 million to its digital identity initiatives to “enable use of digital identity to be expanded to other levels of Government and the private sector”. 

Digital identity has been a key focus for AusPayNet through development of the TrustID framework.  

In the COVID-19 pandemic – with greater use of e-commerce, and in individual use cases like government stimulus measures – digital identity has emerged as top of mind for the government and private sector in ensuring payments are effectively targeted. 

While the government’s announcement was positive a balance will need to be struck between government and the private sector with interoperability the key principle going forward, according to AusPayNet CEO Andy White. 

“While the government can offer one solution, the private sector clearly has a role. 

“A framework is needed to ensure consumers only need to establish their identity once but can use it ubiquitously. You need that interoperability between the private and public sector.”

Here he highlights AusPayNet’s TrustID framework, a key principle of which is interoperability. Importantly this feature will also be important as Australia moves to an open data world that will include banking, energy and telecommunications under the consumer data right. 

Complementing ongoing work 

At this stage, it is difficult for AusPayNet to assess whether any tweaks will be needed to its TrustID framework off the back of the potential government initiative. 

“It’s obviously a very high-level announcement but my read is that it is a wider rollout of the TDIF [Trusted Digital Identity Framework] across government services.”

AusPayNet already works closely with the Digital Transformation Agency, who developed TDIF. 

However, if TDIF is needed to be tweaked because specific government services need to be implemented in a certain way, then AusPayNet would look to make complimentary changes to its TrustID framework. 

Another key announcement made in the budget was a payments review. 

Since the announcement, the government has provided further details including the terms of reference

White recognises the Reserve Bank’s current review of retail payments regulation adding that it likely that the newly announced review will complement this ongoing work.

Like other reviews in financial services, White also notes that the payment review draws upon international examples, such as the UK, Singapore and New Zealand.