Before it can fulfil its vision for modern online service delivery, the Victorian government needs to lay the necessary groundwork by bolstering its privacy and information security approach.
It is aiming to tick off four significant action items from its 50 point ICT strategy by March 2014, and is currently hunting for an external consultant with expertise in privacy and identity management to guide it through the process.
The actions include overhauling its whole-of-government identity management framework, identifying a new identity management solution to facilitate citizen engagement, and giving its customers the ability to consent to their personal details being shared amongst Victorian agencies.
Victorian chief technology advocate Grantly Mailes told iTnews that whichever approach his government decides to take will need to address the whole range of scenarios it deals with while collecting (and protecting) personal details of its citizens.
“We deal with the whole spectrum from 'we don’t care' to 'we must know',” he said.
“There are things about the online activity of some of our citizens that we don’t need to know about, like who downloads a particular brochure. At the same time, however, it can help us to know the range of brochures that are being downloaded by that same person - without us actually having to know who they are.
“But on the other hand, there are instances where we need to know exactly who you are down to 100 points of identification, like land titling,” he explained.
Before it can select a specific identify management solution the state will draw upon the knowledge of an experience security and privacy consultant to guide it through the process, someone who will temporarily fill an acknowledged skills gap in the Victorian Government.
“We are looking for someone who is a bit more familiar with what is broadly going on in this space, and who can identify the sorts of solutions that are available for us to use right across this spectrum of identification needs,” Mailes said.
The focus for the CTA is balancing the government’s need to offer “friction free” online services with its responsibilities as a monopoly provider.
“We’re not like a bank where you can switch to a competitor if you don’t trust our internal controls,” he said. “People don’t have a choice but to come to us, so we need them to feel comfortable.”
“We need a framework that we can talk to privacy commissioners about, and that will satisfy privacy advocates and citizens.”
Internal access management on the agenda
Mailes said the Victorian government is also looking to overhaul its internal identity and access management approach, but will keep the work in-house.
The whole-of-government contract for its current Rosetta-Novell based identity management platform expires at the end of this year.
He said heightened access management will be needed as new ICT developments like VicConnect, the replacement for the government's telecommunications procurement arrangement, go live.