Identity verification planned for company registrations

Businesspeople may need to prove their identity through iGovt, a $122 million hi-tech verification system being tested by the Internal Affairs Department, before registering companies or taking on directorships.

The Government is under pressure to tighten up company registrations in the wake of the revelation that an Auckland-registered company, SP Trading, had been used to charter a Georgian plane to fly arms from North Korea to Iran, in breach of a United States embargo.

Officials are due to brief Commerce Minister Simon Power on the options today.

Companies Office general manager Justin Hygate says the discussions were likely to cover the possible role of the identity verification service.

It was designed to make it easier for government agencies to conduct more secure transactions online and could let the Companies Office check people's identity while still letting them submit documents over the internet.

To use the identity verification service, people must first register in person by presenting their passport at a government office and providing their mobile phone number.

Then, after logging on to a government website, they can request a unique code be sent to their mobile, which they can key in to prove their identity.

The system works on the same principle as a two-factor authentication system used by the banks to secure internet banking transactions.

Read more at BusinessDay.

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