Feds to reduce authentication services

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Feds to reduce authentication services

In search of a single sign-on for all Government services.

Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner has announced that the Federal Government will rationalise the number of authentication services it uses to transact with businesses and individuals.

Currently, Australians transact with agencies such as the Australian Tax Office, Centrelink or the Department of Health and Ageing using different credentials on different IT systems.

As more and more Government services have come online in recent years, the number of credentials businesses and individuals need to remember has ballooned, as has the cost to Government of managing these authentication services.

Tanner has announced that in early 2010, the Government would appoint three lead agencies to rationalise all of these connection points - with the ultimate nirvana being a single, cross-Government sign-on.

"Along with minimising duplication of authentication services in use by the Federal Government, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) is currently developing solutions that provide people with the option of combining multiple accounts," Tanner said in a statement.

The Finance Minister moved to reassure citizens that these grouped authentication services would not necessarily mean that lead agencies gain access to information held by other Government agencies.

He said it was instead "another example" of how the Federal Government is "improving whole-of-government management of ICT."

A spokesman for Tanner said it would be up to the three lead agencies appointed to choose which security technologies or technology vendors would be chosen at the expense of others.

The authentication rationalisation is among a slew of Government initiatives to simplify and reduce the costs of ICT in Canberra - with the Government also committed to reducing "business as usual" ICT expenditure, rationalising its data centre footprint and merging the IT departments of Medicare, Centrelink and other agencies within the Human Services portfolio.

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