The Future of Digital Identity in Government

Digital identity is fast becoming the cornerstone of government service delivery in Australia. As more and more Australians expect government services to be available online, digital identity has emerged as the key to providing seamless, easy, and convenient experiences. In a world powered by digital experiences, it is only logical that people expect the same level of convenience and security from their government interactions.

In the Creating a Seamless Citizen Experience: The Future of Digital Identity in Government, report by Intermedium, it is clear that digital identity will be one of the key drivers to the success of digital government in the future.  The adoption of digital identity is critical not only to enable widespread access to government services but also to reduce costs for Australians. However, the need to protect valuable personal data and sensitive information from data breaches and cybercrime makes access to government services a challenge.

Digital identity unlocks the potential for a single government digital identity that makes access to these services easier, and minimises the risk for data compromise, identity theft, and fraud. However, siloed data and limitations that prevent the sharing of data between agencies, states, and third-parties pose challenges to achieving this.

The Federal Government has made digital identity a priority for close to a decade, and the latest Federal Budget shows a renewed commitment to this goal. The Labour Government has emphasised the importance of faster adoption of digital identity in improving government services and making them safer and more secure. To support interoperability across Australian jurisdictions, the government is investing $26.9 million in the next stage of the Digital ID program, with a further $135.3 million to give MyGov ‘certainty and stability.’

At all levels of government, change is happening, with many states moving towards a single identity. The Andrews Government in Victoria, for instance, is set to launch digital driver's licenses, with a trial that will roll out across the state in 2024. The adoption of digital identity by governments, however, comes with challenges, including jurisdictional constraints, evolving security legislation, and privacy laws.

To achieve this digital future, governments must focus on crafting an effective experience that caters to citizens' needs. Governments must learn from leaders like New South Wales, which has emerged as a trailblazer in digital identity adoption. The state's Service NSW app, which pilots digital driver's licenses, has 8.7 million accounts and 80% uptake among the state’s residents. In comparison, only 35% in Western Australia use the state’s app and the federal MyGov app has a ways to go, satisfying only 45% of users.

A cloud-based citizen identity platform can help government agencies link a single user's identity to multiple services and agencies at scale. Governments can reduce the burden on agencies by leaning on tried and tested technology and focusing on improving the user experience. Cloud-based solutions are mobile-first, accessible, and easy-to-use, making them readily adoptable by Australians.

Australia's governments must be serious about increasing their digital services at speed to meet citizens' expectations. By investing, reforming, and changing, Australia's governments can deliver high-quality experiences for the country well into the future. The future of digital identity in government is bright, and the potential benefits to citizens and businesses are enormous. The report highlights that resolving digital identity is a high order strategic issue that needs to be addressed for the availability of digital government services to be widespread.

Modern Identity for digital public services