Service NSW to bring facial verification to digital channels

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Service NSW to bring facial verification to digital channels

And reveals plans for decentralised 'credential vault'.

Service NSW is planning to introduce face verification technology across its digital channels, as the one-stop shop for government services looks to make it easier for customers to prove their identity and stamp out fraud.

The agency today went looking for liveness detection and facial matching software, while revealing longer-term plans for “trusted, decentralised credentials in a personalised digital wallet”.

The software will allow Service NSW users to create a “strong identity”, otherwise known as identity proofing level three (IP3), by matching a live photo against an on-file identification photo.

IP3 is the highest level of online verification under the Commonwealth's trusted digital identity framework (TDIF), and is “indented for services with a risk of services consequence from fraud”.

Potential use cases of the proof-of-life test include grant applications, which have been the subject of fraud during recent lockdowns.

The Australian Taxation Office is currently piloting similar biometrics technology from UK company iProov through its myGovID digital identity credentialing app.

Service NSW said the “development and delivery of a digital proof of identity level 3 solution” and rollout of biometrics would “make it easier for customer to prove their identity anytime, anywhere”.

“This digital solution will be used by customers who use Service NSW for numerous government digital services,” it said in a request for information (RFI).

The agency said the service will be “opt-in” for customers, with existing modes of authentication to still be available.

The solution will consist of four discrete components – liveness detection, facial quality determination, document fraud detection and facial matching – which Service NSW will integrate.

It will “determine that a customer is currently live and in front of a... camera” across smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.

Digital wallet, identity sharing

As Service NSW looks to embed a proof-of-life test in its digital channels, the Department of Customer Service has also revealed plans for a personalised digital wallet, or “credential vault”.

The agency said the wallet – a foundational element of the NSW customer digital identity program – would allow customers to manage and share “trusted, decentralise, verifiable” credentials digitally.

The wallet, which will be supported by several new platforms, is expected to work for “both credentials issued by the NSW government and credentials issued by the private sector”.

“DCS is building a consent-led solution that is future-facing, and protects the security and privacy of citizen data,” it said in a separate expressions of interest (EOI).

DCS said it would use the EOI to explore “industry solutions from leading vendors in the digital identity space”, though has outlined a number of major capabilities in addition to the wallet that it wants.

The department intends to hold briefings for both the liveness detection and facial verification RFI and the digital identity and verifiable credentials EOI over the next three weeks.

It has not offered a timeframe for when either solution will be introduced.

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