Updated: DIA positive about private sector Identity Verification

Department of Internal Affairs reassures public on privacy

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is a step closer to opening its government identity services to use by private sector partners.

Last September the department consulted with the private sector on the best way to develop and operate services such as the igovt Identity Verification Service (IVS) and the Government Logon Service (GLS) and says it is pleased with the results.

The move to investigate such partnerships follows a Cabinet decision in August to continue the roll-out of igovt using existing funding while exploring options for commercial involvement.

"The Department carefully assessed all the ideas it received and is further exploring a partnership model as the optimal way forward. We want to explore this option with potential partners. We also want to further explore private sector use of igovt services,” says Internal Affairs’ general manager identity services, Annette Offenberger.

In November, the Sunday Star Times reported use of the technology could help banks comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill enacted last October. Banks, however, were coy about the plan and one source indicated they could choose to develop their own scheme.

ASB's chief general counsel Graeme Edwards told the SST that "any initiative that increases the integrity of the ID verification process is something the bank would encourage", but "there are significant confidential issues I'd not want to talk about".

Credit company Veda Advantage, however, indicated strong interest.

DIA says under any partnerships with private sector organisations, the government will continue to issue igovt IDs and protect personal information. New Zealanders will also be able to choose if they want to use igovt services to protect their identity and privacy when doing business online, DIA says.

People will also have to give their consent each time their personal information is sent to a participating service provider, DIA says. The government will have no way of knowing what people do on a private organisation's website and organisations offering and using igovt services will not be allowed to share such information, says Offenberger.

As a result, Offenberger says, the igovt services will give participating service providers a high level of confidence in the identity of an individual, but the service provider will only get the minimum amount of information needed to enable an individual to access their services.

The department will hold a briefing for potential partners and users on 9 February. All participants must register to attend the briefing.

The department says its main objectives include more efficient issuing of igovt IDs; integrating igovt logon and IVS into a broader range of public facing services; and faster development and release of improvements to the igovt services.

The government is also considering using IVS to securely identify people registering companies at the Companies Office.

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