Identity verification startup OCR Labs has become the first non-government organisation to be accredited as an identity provider under the federal government’s digital identity program.
Employment minister Stuart Robert announced the accreditation of the Sydney-based identity verification startup through the trusted digital identity framework (TDIF) on Tuesday.
OCR Labs joins the Australian Taxation Office and Australia Post, previously the only two identity providers to be accredited under the TDIF since 2017.
The TDIF is a series of policies and standards that underpin the government’s national federated identity model, including the accreditation of government agencies and private sector organisations.
Accreditation requires an organisation to meet strict requirements around privacy, security, risk management and useability.
Robert said “customers who are using OCR Lab’s identity service across the private sector… can trust their identity information can be verified, and is protected”.
“Now they are accredited, OCR Labs will need to continually demonstrate they meet TDIF obligations by undergoing annual assessment,” he said.
However, like AusPost’s Digital iD, OCR Labs are not currently operating within the government’s identity system, nor are they accredited to the highest proofing level.
The service works by matching images from a physical identity document against still images and video of a person, meaning customers no longer have to visit a bank branch for certain interactions.
NAB also tested the OCR Labs technology against the government’s data ethics framework, and found the service to be a “fairly low-risk use of AI”.
The accreditation comes as the government plans to introduce its Digital Identity Bill to federal parliament in the Spring sitting.
The bill will enshrine the governance and privacy protections covering the scheme, including some of those within the TDIF, in law.
Robert said privacy and security measures are critical to the expansion of the government’s digital identity system.
“We want Australians to have confidence that their information is private and secure, regardless of who holds it,” he said.
“It has become increasingly important in this digital age to be able to establish trust, particularly online.”
The government set aside $256.6 million for the ongoing development of the digital identity system as part of the digital business plan in last year’s budget.
The funding injection more than doubled the government’s $200 million investment in the system over the past five years.