It would also start negotiating with state governments about integrating features such as driver’s licences, and work with federal departments to investigate using the app for renewing passports, enrolling to vote or completing the Census.
“Australians could go to one app to deal with government [which] I think is a very exciting thing. People don’t have to remember all their passwords, they don’t have to deal with multiple government accounts,” Shorten said.
He also hoped it would protect Australians from data hacks that hit private sector organisations last year by allowing users to verify their ID with one MyGov login, similar to using Google or Facebook accounts to log in to other apps.
“The vision is that you’ve got sufficient ID in your government wallet that you can show a private sector business … and you don’t actually have to transfer your data to that private organisation,” Shorten said.
“For a lot of citizens that means that we improve their privacy and control over their data.”
But the review also warned that many Australians such as First Nations people without a birth certificate were excluded from digital identity systems, which can be clunky and difficult to use for those who can sign up.
It also cautioned there were fraud and security risks and called for an independent regulator to monitor the system and protect users’ privacy.
Thodey, who wrote the report, said cybersecurity would require continued investment. “Going digital is a critical part of delivering better services, but it does create risk around identity management, identity theft, it creates issues around privacy,” he said.
“My personal view of having worked in the industry for a long time, you’ve just got to keep at it.”
James Clark, executive director of privacy group Digital Rights Watch Australia, said there was insufficient detail in the report to address its concerns about mass surveillance arising out of the government controlling a system that would link different forms of personal information.
“While they have made mention of ensuring human rights and privacy are protected, they haven’t specified exactly what safeguards would be in place… You can’t just slap ‘safe’ on something and magically make it so,” he said.
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