Digital identity is essential to establish a person’s digital rights and shape the digital economy in New Zealand. A priority for our local government is building a modern approach to digital identity which makes sure that a person is always in control of their data. The Department of Internal Affairs are working on this project to address the problem of in-accessible ID data.
We caught up with Ata McGregor and Gayle Roberts to find out more about what the DIA team (proudly referred to as “SuperSmooth”) are working on.
What are you currently working on?
We are exploring how people apply for NZ Super. We want to get rid of the paper forms and the need to come into an MSD Service Centre. While part of the application can be completed online, the applicants still have to come into MSD to confirm their identity in person. This is time-consuming and expensive for everyone involved in the process. It’s also a problem if you don’t have a passport or a drivers license and more and more people don’t actually get paper bills or bank statements anymore. If we can figure out a way to identify someone digitally the whole process could be done online. We believe it can be done for Super!
We want to simplify the online Super process and place applicants in control of how their information is shared. Proving our identity securely and online is difficult but we need to do it in order to transact. Think about the many times you have had to prove who you are online, or at least prove that you are entitled to do something whether that be banking, social media, emails, subscriptions and online shopping. Identity fraud and benefit fraud are also problems. Any digital alternative to proving your identity must be robust and trustworthy before it can be used to replace a face to face meeting.
Privacy, transparency, reliability and accuracy are at the forefront of what we are trying to do – it must be easier for the end user and everyone must be able to trust the process.
What is Digital Identity all about?
Digital Identity is about proving who you are once and storing that proof digitally so you can easily reuse it over and over again.
What difference will the project make to NZ public sector?
It’s not just NZ Super and it’s not just in government either. You constantly need to prove who you are online. Also, Anti-Money Laundering legislation in NZ is going to raise the bar again as the same level of proof will be needed to open a bank account, engage a Lawyer, Accountant or Real Estate agent. The need to know with certainty who someone is, it’s just going to keep increasing in the future.
It all comes at a cost to the NZ economy. The cost of having to prove who you are over and over again is staggeringly high.
What are you hoping to achieve by the end of Lightning Lab GovTech?
We hope to provide MSD with a solution to allow people to apply for Super completely and online. That this solution gets built, so that we can all learn to use digital identity across government and private sectors to make things accessible, safer and easier for everyone.
What are you looking forward to the most during your time in the Lightning Lab GovTech Accelerator?
Building strong networks and doing something of value for New Zealand.