The federal government has issued an open call to businesses interested in participating in Australia’s federated digital identity system ahead of next year’s planned expansion.
The expression of interest (EOI) aims to gauge what services private sector organisations are interested in having accredited under the trusted digital identity framework (TDIF).
It comes as the government prepares to introduce laws that will make it possible for the private sector and state governments to participate in the system, while enshrining privacy protections.
The government had planned to introduce the legislation before the end of 2021, but with parliament finished for the year, this now won’t happen before mid-February 2022.
Employment Minister Stuart Robert last week said the EOI was aimed at “increasing awareness of the [digital identity] system and the accreditation process”.
He said that business that registered interest were opening a “direct pathway into the government’s digital identity program”, allowing them to better understand the system.
“While we work on important enabling legislation, I encourage businesses to register their interest, and engage constructively,” Robert said.
“This will ensure we can continue to develop and enhance a genuine economy-wide system that provides better identity security, easier and secure access to services, and improved and more efficient interactions for people and businesses.”
Businesses interested in becoming an identity provider, attribute service provider, credential service provider, identity exchange or relying party are being encouraged to respond to the EOI.
The Digital Transformation Agency said this could include businesses from sectors like “education, financial services, employment and government providers of licences and certificates”.
But it also warned that the EOI does not guarantee accreditation under the TDIF or onboarding.
“The passing of the Trusted Digital Identity Bill is required to enable onboarding to the system to expand beyond Australian Government services to states and territories and the private sector,” the DTA said.
“There will be a separate approach to market in the future regarding private sector participation in the system.”
Identity verification startup OCR Labs was the first private sector organisation to become TDIF accredited in August, followed by eftpos as the first digital identity exchange operator in September.
The Australian Taxation Office and Australia Post have been accredited as identity providers since 2017.