Leveraging digital identities to improve citizen access

Australia is on the cusp of a technological revolution, and one that relies on digital identities more than ever, writes ADAM BUTLER.

Adam Butler

In light of this, the Office of the National Data Commissioner (ONDC) recently released its Sharing Data and Release consultation paper, which maps out how to modernise Australia’s fractured data sharing ecosystem.

The ONDC believes that public data is a national resource and its use can benefit all Australians through better and more targeted programs and service delivery.

Within this new public data-sharing ecosystem, the government has an opportunity to leverage digital identities to improve the quality of government services as Australian citizens interact with various touchpoints.

Delivering frictionless experiences

Australian citizens have become acutely aware of their consumer capital and how their data is being used and managed.

In today’s digital economy, citizens don’t mind sharing their personal data with an organisation in exchange for benefits. The nature and amount of data shared is dependent on the perceived value of the benefit.

Just as Australians have become accustomed to the intuitive service received by banks and online retailers, they are now demanding those secure and frictionless experiences from their interactions with government agencies.

For example, the proposed changes will create a single platform that provides users with the ability to access all relevant Government services in one place. It has the potential to not only eliminate the unnecessary storage of the same information across multiple departments but also pave the way forward for a more secure and frictionless experience across departments and improve how citizens access information and services.

For example, when Australians update their personal details such as their address, that information is only supplied once but updated across all relevant departments. This reduces admin workloads and mitigates the risk of potentially sensitive information being sent to old addresses.

This boost in efficiency will enable the government to deliver tailored services to the public across crucial areas such as welfare payments, employment assistance, healthcare rebates, taxation refunds, superannuation advice and disability support.

Consultation is key

With public data at stake, it’s crucial to get the legislation right – which is why feedback is being sought on the approach.The consultation paper is an opportunity to collaborate with industry on the development of the legislation. The government should be commended for taking this collaborative stance.

It is a chance for the government to hear from a variety of stakeholders on how best to develop the framework and address the people and process and technology problems they may face along the way and how best to overcome them.

It will enable the government to map out clear, actionable steps throughout the development process and put in place considered steps to ensure the proposed legislation evolves correctly. Moreover, by soliciting input from subject matter experts from a variety of fields such as consent and security, the government will increase public confidence in the data-sharing framework.

As our world becomes more connected, it also becomes more complex. A fundamental shift in the dynamics of data exchange between citizens and governments is taking place. Capturing the full potential of the data-sharing framework will depend on the government taking a transparent, measured and consultative approach and showcasing the benefits that secure and frictionless experiences can create. This will go a long way in garnering support for the wide sweeping reforms.

*Adam Butler is Public Sector Lead ANZ at ForgeRock

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