Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, has revealed a second beta of MyGov’s replacement should be rolled out by the end of 2020. This will include the integration of its Digital Identity service.
The announcement was made during Robert’s keynote speech at the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) summit on Tuesday. During the speech Robert outlined how integral MyGov has been for Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year, it has played a crucial role in enabling Australians to access government support during the pandemic. On our busiest day, myGov recorded over 4 million users – all successfully lodging claims or conducting other business with government,” Robert said during the speech.
Back in March MyGov crashed after the second coronavirus stimulus package that was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Robert incorrectly identified this as a DDoS attack before admitting it was due to a lack of preparation and server capacity.
“My bad not realising the sheer scale of the decision on Sunday night by national leaders that literally saw hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, people unemployed overnight,” Mr Robert said at the time.
New MyGov Beta
During the DTA speech Robert made mention of the first beta test for the new MyGov site, which was conducted back in June.
“More than 3,000 pieces of user feedback and 126,000 site visits helped us develop Release 2, which went live on the 20th of September and is focused on JobSeekers,” Robert said.
Robert went on to say that the second release should happen by the end of 2020, and will include “additional improvements” and the integration of Digital Identity.
According to the government, over 1.75 million individuals and 1.2 million businesses use Digital Identity with over 70 government services.
Digital Identity is designed to replace the current authentication system on myGov. It allows users to create digital identity to be used for government services instead of the older 100 points of ID check.
In October the 2020 budget papers revealed that the government will be allocating $256 million into the expansion of the Digital Identity scheme over the next two years. As we revealed at the time, part of that will include biometric verification.
“This funding would enable completion of biometric verification and the integration of myGov, onboard additional services to support businesses and individuals to access more Commonwealth Government services on-line, trial use of digital identity with the states and develop legislation to enable use of digital identity to be expanded to other levels of Government and the private sector,” the Budget papers read.
Robert further reiterated this point on Tuesday.
“The Government’s investment will allow more people to connect to more services using Digital Identity over the coming years. The expansion of digital identity will see state and territory government services connected to the system for the first time,” Robert said in his DTA speech.
“Our vision for myGov is to make it a true front door for Government and deliver important functionality like a government wallet, a home for trusted correspondence, a video appointment service and safeguarded by a strong digital identity that makes accessing services a seamless process for businesses and individuals.,” Robert said.
The facial recognition aspect of the Digital Identity service isn’t expected to begin trials until September 2021.
Digital Identity Legislation
The budget also mentioned the development of legislation to help safeguard the use of digital identities in MyGov 2.0. Robert further touched on this legislation during his DTA speech.
Robert stated that the development of this legislation will include input from the community. He also said the Digital Identity System it will include safeguards and oversight as its expanded to include stated, territory and private sector services.
“Every single piece of customer consultation we’ve done for every single application tells us loud and clear that people want, above all, for their data to be safe and secure,” Robert said.
“The best platforms in the world and the most advanced technology will not work if Australians don’t trust us to protect their data. This is why, in the period ahead, we will be introducing the Data Availability and Transparency Bill, which provides significant safeguards for the use of data across government.”
Over the past couple of years Australians have seen significant issues with the governments handling of data accuracy and privacy.
The Robodebt scheme has seen Australians owed over $24 million in refunds that were incorrectly issued. And on the health side, My Health Record was shrouded in controversy after almost being rushed in despite glaring privacy and security concerns. At the time Australians were also having difficulty opting out of my record before the deadline due to website crashes.