Have your say about proving your identity online
The Government is proposing a new service that will allow people to prove their identity to government agencies online and in real time to a high level of confidence. The Department of Internal Affairs is holding a public consultation on the identity verification service between now and 7 December 2007. The aim is to gather feedback from potential users about how this new service might work for them.
This Identity Verification Service will be provided as a part of the All-of-Government Authentication Programme being led by the State Services Commission. The working title for all of the services offered to the public by the Authentication Programme is “igovt”.
The Identity Verification Service will be a completely optional service that people can join or leave at any time. Its aim is to provide users with a quick, easy, secure way to access government agencies online. It will not replace other ways to establish identity.
Sue Boland, Acting General Manager, Identity Services for DIA, says that the Identity Verification Service will allow people to access a range of services online for the first time.
“The internet is changing the way we do things. It is now used regularly across the world to help people to access the services they need when they need them. Right now, New Zealand government agencies cannot provide services that involve the exchange of money or personal information, such as student loans, unless they have verified someone’s identity. That often means repeatedly having to submit documents - usually involving cost and effort for the user.
“This proposed new service is a secure, reliable way to identify that users are who they say they are, online and in real time. It has been designed from the ground up to protect users’ privacy and safeguard their personal information.
“People choosing to use this service will only have to establish their identity to government to a high level once. Once their identity is established, they’ll be able to use a single logon to identify themselves safely and securely whenever they interact with government agencies online.”
Ms Boland says that the public consultation process is an important part of developing the new service and she hopes New Zealanders will become involved.
“Identity fraud is a very real issue. If we can give people safe, secure access to services online, while at the same time ensuring that agencies can be confident of the user’s identity, both parties benefit.
“The Identity Verification Service will open up real opportunities for government to offer new services online, without putting people or agencies at risk. We want people to know how the service will work, and we want to know what they think of it.” Submissions are open until 4pm, Friday 7 December. They can be made online or forms downloaded from www.dia.govt/idconsult Further information about the consultation process is available on Freephone 0800 idconsult (0800 432 667).
Attached: Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the service and what’s it for? The purpose of the new service is to allow you to use the internet as a more convenient way to prove who you are when you are dealing with government agencies.
To use some government services, people need to verify who they are. For example, government agencies cannot provide services that involve the exchange of money or personal information unless they have verified your identity. They can only provide services such as student allowances, if they are sure about who they are dealing with.
Currently, proving your identity to government agencies can require you to provide multiple documents, which can take time. Additionally, different agencies can require different forms of identification and you can’t always do it online.
The new service aims to give you a way to do this that is quick, safe, and easy while protecting your privacy at the same time. Using the internet provides you with the convenience of anytime/anywhere access.
The new service won’t replace other methods of establishing identity. If you prefer, other ways of establishing your identity when accessing government services can be used, such as visiting the relevant government agency office or by post.
How will the service work? There are two steps: joining the service and using the service.
Joining the service You have to apply to join the service. In many cases, a government agency will have already established your identity to a high level of confidence. If you already have a New Zealand passport or grant of citizenship, you can apply to join the service without having to go through the identity establishment step all over again. In other cases, you will have to submit documents and may have to go through other processes to establish your identity – a lot like applying for a passport. Having established your identity, your core identity information (name/s, date of birth, place of birth, and sex) will be electronically recorded and held securely in a database. A username, password, and token (or something similar) will be provided. They are the “logon”, and are required whenever the service is to be accessed (A “token” is a physical device that can be used to provide extra security, over and above a username and password).
This process is like obtaining and using a bankcard – an account and PIN number must be set up before the card can be used.
Using the service Once you have joined, you can use the service to verify your identity to a government agency whenever you need to, using the Internet. First, you will go to the website of the government agency providing the service you require. From there, you will be re-directed to the igovt website, which will ask for logon details. Once you log on you will be able to view your identity information and then consent to it being sent to the specific government agency through the Internet. This all happens while online. You will then be re-directed back to the original government agency website, which will now know who you are and enable access to the service you require. The logon can also be used for ongoing access to that government agency’s online services.
This process is instantaneous and seamless.
What kinds of things could I use the service for? The new service could help people to complete, online, the proof of identity aspect of an activity such as renewing a passport or applying for a student loan. There may be other steps that need to be taken to complete these activities, but the new service will help with any part that requires a person to prove who they are online.
The new service could result in more government services being available using the Internet, including those that require a person’s identity to be verified at a high level of confidence, for example applying for a renewed passport.
Will I have to join the service? It’s completely up to you whether or not you choose to join, or use the service once you have joined. You are in control and can decide whether or not you want to use the Identity Verification Service. You have to give permission each time your identity information is sent to any other agency. You can choose to stop using it any time you like.
Is it only for government services? Over time, government may consider extending the service so that people can choose to use it to also verify their identity to businesses and other organisations.
How secure is my information? Security of personal information has been a major consideration in the design of the service. Some of the very best security standards, practices and guidelines available will be used to protect information, both while in transit and storage.
For example: The only way that a government agency can be sent your identity information using this service, is if you give permission by accessing the service using your personal logon details. The service will provide you with an online way of checking your own service history, including which agencies you have used the service with. There will be regular independent reviews by experts to provide ongoing assurance that the security measures are working as intended.
Is my privacy protected by the service? All services under igovt, including the identity verification service, are being designed with a strong commitment to protecting your privacy.
A comprehensive range of privacy measures are proposed including new laws, technical design, and appropriate administration of the service.
In particular, the technical design is such that the sharing of personal or collective information about your activities with other parties is not possible using the service and the service itself only knows your core identity information (name/s, date of birth, place of birth, and sex).
Each agency involved with the service will identify you in a different way using an identifier or code unique to that agency. There will be no external national unique identifier. There is no way for agencies to share information about anyone through this service.
The Privacy Commissioner has been kept informed of the proposal. Privacy assessments will be ongoing. Previous Privacy Impact Assessments are available online: www.e.govt.nz/services/authentication/library/docs .
Is the service just another name for a national identity card? The new identity verification service is not a national identity card. It has a number of features that clearly make it different. National ID cards are mandatory. The new service is not. A person has a choice as to whether they join or use the new service. A person's identity information (and possibly much more) is held on an ID card. The new identity verification service only stores a minimum amount of core identity information (name/s, date of birth, place of birth and sex). This information is held securely in a database. All of a person's identity information is available on an ID card, even if that information is not required. The new identity verification service gives agencies only the information they require. A national ID card typically can enable biometric information (such as fingerprints) to be passed electronically to another agency. The new identity verification service will not do this. Checking for theft or identity fraud is more difficult when using an ID card. The new identity verification service does that each time it is used.
How often will I have to establish my identity? One of the major aims of the new service is that an identity will only have to be established with government once. You can then avoid the cost and effort of repeatedly having to provide documents to those government agencies using the service to prove who you are.
Once you have established your identity, you will be able to use the service to access agencies that use the service, as many times as you like. However, identity verification credentials, which will be supplied to users as part of the service, will expire and need to be renewed every 5 years to ensure the integrity and security of the service.
When will I be able to use the service? The new service is proposed to be introduced in phases, beginning in 2009 and within existing laws. Initially, people who have received a New Zealand passport or grant of citizenship in the previous five years will be eligible to join the service, as they will have the most up-to-date verified identities and photos. Over time, processes will be developed to cover those who have received permanent residence in the last five years. Eventually, the service will be extended to establish people’s identity “from scratch” so that any person who wants to join the service can do so.
From 2010, or once new laws are in place, the full-service version will be introduced and made available more widely. The intention is that the identity verification service will be available to everyone who can prove their identity to the Department of Internal Affairs’ satisfaction and who accepts the service’s terms and conditions.
Who’s behind the service? The Department of Internal Affairs is working together with the State Services Commission to develop the service.
How would I get help if I have a problem using the service? There will be a helpdesk and other customer support when help is needed. The helpdesk will be able to sort out problems with username, password, lost tokens, or any problem with logging on, joining, using or leaving igovt or in accessing services.
What if I am unhappy, or have a complaint about the service? If you have a complaint about the actions and decisions of any government agency, you can have it considered by an Ombudsman. If you have a complaint about protection of your privacy that is not satisfactorily resolved by the agency’s privacy officer, you can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
What’s this consultation for? We want people to know how this proposed new service will work and what you think of it. The service has been developed to make it easier for you to prove who you are and access a wide range of government services online, so we need to know if you think we’ve got it right.
What happens after the consultation? The Department of Internal Affairs will receive a report covering all of the views that have been expressed throughout the consultation process.
All the views expressed will be carefully analysed and used to refine the design of the service as well as in development of supporting legislation.
A report on the consultation will be made publicly available online.
No individual will be identified in the report. The report will focus on the themes that come out of the consultation rather than singling out individual views.
Where can I get more information? If further information on the proposed service is required, go to: www.dia.govt.nz/idconsult for the booklet called ‘Information for Public Consultation’.
For further information about the consultation process: phone 0800 idconsult (0800 432 667)
How do I send in my views? To send your views, you can:
Complete a submission response form online at www.dia.govt.nz/idconsult Download a submission response form from www.dia.govt.nz/idconsult to type and email your views, or Download a submission response to complete by hand and post (call 0800 432 667 if you would like us to send you a form instead of downloading it). You can also write to us without using the submission response form.
Submissions returned by post should be sent to:
The Department of Internal Affairs Identity Verification Consultation freepost idconsult PO Box 10-526 The Terrace Wellington
Submissions returned by email should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Submission must be received by 4pm on Friday 7 December 2007.