Ah government, regardless of your political leaning most of us agree that a certain amount of Government intervention is required to run a society. Medicare, Centrelink, the Tax Office, all essential, all government-funded and run.
In an increasingly digital age, it can be frustrating to interact with many Government agencies. However, in Australia, we do enjoy a moderate amount of online digital services, even if the sites can be somewhat poorly designed and hard to navigate.
The backbone of any digital platform is authentication, knowing who you are, and regularly checking against that to allow you access to your own information. Knowing who you are in the real world is even more important when dealing with financial, health, social security and tax information.
To this end the Australian Government has been working on a digital identification platform called myGovID. Not be be confused with the myGov service that acts as a front door to several Federal Government services.
myGovID is a digital identity that is confirmed by and backed by the Federal Government. myGovID offers two basic products, a basic account which allows you to log into the app, and a standard account which lets you start to use it for authentication, or it would if your service supports it.
At present it can only be used for a handful of Taxation, business and RTO education uses. In the future (by the end of the current financial year) it will be rolled into the myGov digital platform as an authentication method.
One set up it works very similar to Google’s Account login on Android or Microsoft’s Authenticator, when you log into a service, you enter your email address and you’ll get a authentication prompt in the app, tap on that and you’re in.
To signup and get a myGovID you’ll need the app on either Android or iOS and two of the following, your Drivers Licence, Passport, Medicare Card or Birth certificate. Scan or enter those documents into the app and you’ll be authenticated as the real you going forward.
Now, this was an easy process, so easy almost anyone with access to those documents could have done it. I don’t leave any of those documents / credentials just lying about but I know I feel more secure having claimed my identity.
Some of that information has been provided to 3rd parties and with all of the aggregation of known and unknown data breaches happening I see having set up my account as protection against a bad action setting it up before I can. Paranoid, maybe, but you have to be a little paranoid online these days.
Of course, I’m sure many people won’t want the government having this information (hint these are government ID’s already, they already have access to and have aggregated it…. that’ why they use it. However I do understand if people don’t want to use the ID to log into new services, but I still think it’s wise to “squat” on your myGovID, just in case.