New South Wales’ digital ID program will pilot “photo verification technology”, according to an announcement from the office of the Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Victor Dominello.
The news comes after the government agency Service NSW issued an RFI this time last year concerning the integration of facial recognition technology into public-facing channels.
“The NSW Digital ID program will provide customers with the ability to prove their identity through a secure digital channel when transacting with government, businesses or non-government organisations,” Minister Dominello explained, noting that “no biometric or photo data will be store” once an end user has been verified.
“Customers will be able to store their encrypted personal information securely on their own device meaning it will not be held centrally by government or a private entity,” he explained.
Notably, Minister Dominello recently proposed a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s use of AI technologies including facial recognition, with a parliamentary committee subsequently recommending that the inquiry be launched after a state election slated for March of 2023. The Minister, together with Greens MP Abigail Boyd, had drafted a proposal to establish a committee that would look into the ethics of AI systems that the government uses or plans to use, and to assess any risks associated with the technology.
Minister Dominello’s subsequent announcement concerning the “photo verification technology” pilot for NSW Digital ID suggests that he really does understand both the “reforming power of technology” and “its destructive power” when implemented without the proper safeguards, as he previously characterized his views in a LinkedIn post.
The NSW photo verification tech pilot begins this month, and will enable participants to remotely renew their ‘Working with Children Checks’ and to conduct age checks for online purchases of alcohol, via the Service NSW app.
Sources: NSW Government, InnovationAus.com