Government agencies in Victoria and Western Australia have finally agreed to use the $28.3 million national Document Verification Service (DVS), four years after it was deployed.
Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland announced late last week that the states would use the service to electronically verify the authenticity of identity documents.
“The national implementation of the Document Verification Service will help Australians ensure their personal information and identity is kept secure and not misused,” he said.
“The Document Verification Service significantly improves protection of people’s identity by allowing documents commonly used as proof of identity to be quickly checked electronically by the issuing agency.”
Although the service was launched in October 2007, the Australian National Audit Office found last year that it had “significant problems” and was rarely used.
Auditors reported that the DVS performed less than ten transactions a day – well under initially expectations of one million a day – and was weighed down by issues with timeliness and accuracy.
The DVS does not store any personal information. Instead, it sends encrypted verification requests to the relevant document issuing agency, which returns either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.
Prior to last week’s announcement, the DVS accepted documents issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, as well as birth certificates and drivers licences from some states and territories.
Original planning documents stated that all state and territory Births, Deaths and Marriages registries and Road and Traffic Authorities would be connected to the DVS by June 2008.
Following Victoria and Western Australia’s DVS implementation, a spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) said all states and territories were now on board.