Lights out for AUSkey

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Lights out for AUSkey

ATO to decommission system tonight.

Businesses yet to transition to the government’s new myGovID digital identity credential are being urged to do so as the clock counts down on the legacy AUSkey authentication solution.

The Australian Taxation Office will switch off the AUSkey system at midnight tonight, despite the pressures businesses are facing in the wake of the fast changing coronavirus pandemic.

While users will still be able to move across to myGovID after March 27, the hardcoded nature of the PKI-based AUSkey solution means the ATO is unable to delay its retirement.

“The underlying AUSkey system was hardcoded when it was built ten years ago and this will mean that all current AUSkeys will expire at 11:59pm on 27 March,” a spokesperson told iTnews.

“They cannot be extended.”

The ATO has been working toward a March 2020 deadline for AUSkey’s retirement since July 2018, when it first revealed its intention to decommission the solution and adopt myGovID.

myGovID, which is available for most iOS and Android devices, allows users to create a digital identity that can be used to log into a range of federal and state government services.

It works like a 100 point ID check, verifying identity documents like passports, driver’s licences and Medicare cards, though requires that each user has their own smart device.

The ATO has spent the last six months progressively migrating tax agents to myGovID and the accompanying authorisation service called the relationship authorisation manager.

But some users attempting to create an myGovID, which finally moved out of public beta last week, have encountered “system issues” or “server issues” in recent days.

The spokesperson told iTnews that while there had been “an unexpected issue earlier this week that intermittently impacted some users”, the issue had been “resolved quickly”. 

Despite the recent issues, the spokesperson said the myGovID credential adoption rate was currently “well above” forecasts.

“Approximately 600,000 businesses have already adopted the myGovID credential,” the ATO said, adding that this included “over 80 percent of businesses” that previously used AUSkey.

“There are approximately 730,000 myGovID identities that have been established.”

Last week, chief digital officer John Dardo said the transition to myGovID had been important for tax professionals and businesses with a number of AUSkey users to review their permissions.

“Some organisations have discovered that they had hundreds or thousands of active AUSkeys assigned to people that had left their organisation years ago,” he said.

“For those organisations, this is an opportunity to review and implement a more robust management of authorisations for their employees.

“We are committed to ensuring that access to our services is as easy and flexible as possible, but we must also collectively increase the security of our online systems as we make more services available online.”

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