Government agencies, telcos, banks and finance companies all collect information from customers in order to identify them. This means that an individual’s personal identity information is kept separately on file by each agency. From a consumer perspective, it means that each time we open an account with, for example, a bank or a telco who we haven’t done business with before, we have to undergo an identity check to prove that we are who we say we are.
In order to promote efficiencies and encourage greater trust in the digital economy as we increasingly transact online, the federal government is exploring the idea of co-ordinating identity information across government and the private sectors. This is called the National Trusted Identities Framework (NTIF). The idea is that this works both ways. It makes it simpler for government and business to confirm the identity of individuals they do business with and it allows individuals to verify the credentials of the businesses they transact with online using the same system. It would also mean that as consumers, we would avoid having to provide documentary evidence about our identity every time we open a new account.
Summary: In our submission, we raise a number of concerns about the consultation process for the NTIF. We also highlight that any consumer benefits should not be allowed to drift into the background in favour of business interests. We called for:
- A clear statement of, and commitment to, the consumer benefits expected to come from a NTIF;
- Clear recognition of consumer-friendly principles in all stages of any NTIF development process;
- A greater role for government in the digital identity market than the private sector; and
- Greater public transparency in the development of the NTIF, including a more open consultation process.
Submission to: Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
Download: National Trusted Identities Framework [Word Document - 943 KB]
Download: National Trusted Identities Framework [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 139.78 KB]