Australians can now use both Android and Apple iOS devices to create a myGovID digital identity to access government services online.
But only users with Android 7 (Nougat) or later (Oreo, Pie) will be able to use the application, potentially locking out Australians still using older versions of the Google operating system.
Android’s distribution dashboard puts the percentage of users with Nougat, Oreo and Pie at just under 58 percent.
The Digital Transformation Agency, which has been working with the ATO to develop the application over the last year, has been approached for comment about why earlier versions aren’t supported.
myGovID has been available to iPhone users running iOS 10 or above on the last six generations of devices since the DTA’s digital identity project progressed to the public beta stage of testing in June.
At that time, the credential could only be used to access the ATO’s business portal, as an alternative to the soon-to-be-replaced AUSKey credential.
Since then, however, more ATO services have also become available, including the Australian Business Register, with the new tax agent portal, known as online services for agents, set to follow.
Other high volume government services such as myGov, Centrelink, myTax and My Health Record are currently not accessible using myGovID.
myGovID is expected to remain in public beta mode until its full public launch, which is slated to occur sometime before the end of the year.
However, the solution is unlikely to be integrated with the government’s online services platform myGov until the end of the financial year.
myGovID allows users to create a digital identity that can then be used to log into online government services. Users also have the option to use biometric verifiers on their device to access the app.
A ‘basic’ myGovID only requires users to set up a password and provide personal details like their name, date of birth and email.
The next level of authentication or a ‘standard’ myGovID, however, requires users to enter or use optical character recognition (OCR) to scan one or more physical identity documents.
However, as it stands, neither the iOS or Android apps are certified to what the DTA calls “Identity Proofing Level 3 (IP3)”, which means they don’t yet tap into their face matching capabilities.
IP3 is considered the second highest identity proofing level under the Trusted Digital Identity Framework, giving a high degree of confidence in an identity.
Face matching, which will match and verify photos against photo ID documents in real-time using the Facial Verification Service, is understood to be coming soon.
The DTA began testing myGovID with select users last October using a series of pilots that started with the ATO’s new online tax file number application service.
Update 11 October: A DTA spokesperson said the first Android release on Nougat, Oreo and Pie "represents over 75% of ATO clients visiting the ATO Online system using an android device".
It is planning to "support new versions including version 10 and move to supporting other versions as we progress through the beta".