NZTech has launched New Zealand’s first formal digital identity organisation
Digital Identity NZ, a group of organisations and government agencies, has been set up to connect everyone in New Zealand that cares about digital identity.
NZTech Chief Executive Graeme Muller says the organisation, which will be part of the NZ Tech Alliance, will promote the importance and potential of digital identity to Kiwis.
It will work in partnership to promote open standards and policy that will allow innovation to thrive.
Andrew Weaver, executive director of Digital Identity NZ, says that while Kiwis are using digital identity now in everyday transactions, there is incredible potential in how it can be used in the future.
“Whether it is signing onto a website to buy something, visiting a hospital, paying a bill or getting a tax refund there are now hundreds of times a week people need some form of digital identity and there are so many ways of providing it,” Weaver explains.
“That complexity can be challenging for us as customers or users of that technology, and there are also questions of security, privacy and consent that are becoming increasingly important for us all to consider.”
He notes that some banks now allow customers to use selfie-ID, a form of facial recognition, to open accounts without having to visit a branch while other organisations use finger prints or voice recognition.
“One example of being at the cutting-edge of digital identity is Single Source, a blockchain startup which recently partnered with Delta Insurance to provide a decentralized blockchain identity system.”
Weaver says Digital Identity NZ is the country’s newest not-for-profit organisation, bringing together private and government organisations working to make digital identity easier and more secure for everyone in New Zealand.
“We are driven by a purpose of ensuring New Zealand is a country where everyone can fully participate in society by confidently expressing their digital identity,” Weaver says.
Different countries are taking different approaches, many of them centralized around a single government ID number.
Estonia has issued every citizen a digital ID card since 2001, Japan and India also require citizens to use a single government number to access government services.
“While we have had RealMe in New Zealand for many years it is time to relook at whether a single centralised ID is the best approach in a world where people want ease of use and mobility at the same time as privacy and security,” Weaver believes.
“It’s important for all New Zealanders, companies and organisations to know exactly what digital identity is.
“It not only prevents fraud; it’s also about asserting who we are in this society.
“As we do more and more online, it is necessary to adapt how we enable people to claim who they are,” Weaver insists.