The government of New Zealand is looking to put together a national digital identity program. To that end, the government drafted an initial Digital identity Services Trust Framework Bill, and is now sending that bill to the Economic Development, Science, and Innovation Committee for further review. The Committee will also be soliciting comments from the general public.
According to the Digital Economy and Communications Minister, a comprehensive digital ID program will help kickstart New Zealand’s digital economy and make it easier for citizens to access various public and private services. For example, people would be able to use their digital IDs to sign up for a bank account, or to access wage subsidies from the government. In that regard, the Minister argued that the digital ID could serve as a root of trust that makes people more willing to engage in digital transactions.
The actual Trust Framework Bill would establish rules for the secure storage and use of personal information. New Zealand is hoping that the Bill will give people more control over their personal information, and let them know what private companies are and are not allowed to do with that data when they enter into an arrangement. Businesses, meanwhile, would be able to get accredited, in which case they would be able to use an official trust mark to advertise the fact that they are compliant with any relevant data privacy regulations.
The national IDs could help mitigate cybercrime in addition to boosting the digital economy. On that front, the expected gains are anywhere between 0.5 percent and three percent of New Zealand’s GDP. In the meantime, the Economy and Communications Minister noted that robust digital services make it easier to weather a major crisis like COVID-19, which limited the available in-person service options.
The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs launched a mobile identity app with Daon technology back in 2018, though the new program would presumably be more ambitious. At the very least, the government is hoping that the new IDs will be recognized and accepted as proof of identity in other countries. The Bill reflects the broader interest in digital identity technology, with countries like the Philippines, Pakistan, and France advancing with their own national digital identity programs in the past few months.
Source: OpenGov Asia