igovt Scheme set for expansion

  • Nathan Guy
Internal Affairs

New legislation and an agreement with New Zealand Post means that igovt services are set for expansion across the public sector, and potentially into the private sector, says Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy.

“The Electronic Identity Verification Bill has been introduced to Parliament today, which will enable igovt services to be used by the private sector.

“The Government has also reached an agreement with New Zealand Post for them to develop and promote these services to private sector organisations, once the enabling legislation is passed.

“The igovt logon and identity verification services provide an easy and secure way of accessing government services online and proving identity. They have great potential to deliver better, more secure and cost effective online services to the public.

“The logon service means customers no longer have to remember multiple details for different sites, and the identity verification service saves the need to wait in line carrying different forms of ID. This will create new opportunities for more services to be provided online.

“NZ Post PostShops will also be able to take photos to help people apply for the identity verification service, increasing its accessibility and popularity.

“By using these tools, there is great potential for the banking and financial sectors to provide more services online. The Electronic Identity Verification Bill will allow them to be developed for use in the private sector, with protection and penalties for misuse.

“Already 28 government agencies are using the igovt logon service, and there have been 300,000 logons created. In the future people will be able to use igovt to apply for a new passport or change their electoral details online.”

In this Budget this year $27.6 million in new funding was announced to expand the igovt system. More information on igovt services, including a full list of participating agencies and services is available here: www.i.govt.nz

Questions and answers

How do people currently apply for an igovt logon or ID?
The igovt logon service allows you to use the same logon details to access participating government service providers’ online services. The first step is to register online with a participating government agency. You will be asked to choose your username and password, which becomes your igovt logon.

The igovt identity verification service allows you to prove who you are online. The first step is an offline process where you take your paper identity documents to the Department of Internal Affairs for verification. As part of the process your photo will be taken, and at the end of the process you will be issued with an igovt ID.

How will this change with NZ Post’s involvement?
The process is likely to involve applying online, then going to a PostShop to have a photo taken. The Department of Internal Affairs will then issue the igovt ID if it is confident about the person’s identity.

NZ Post will also connect the private sector with the igovt services, if legislation enables it.

How much funding has the government committed to the igovt services?
The government committed $27.6 million of funding for the igovt services over the next two years in Budget 2011. The igovt services are key to transforming online service delivery by the government and reduce duplicated investment in logon and identity verification technology.

When people use the igovt services, can they be sure that government departments won’t share information?
The igovt services are built to put people in control of their own information. The igovt logon service does not include identity information. Using the igovt identity verification service is optional and individuals’ identity information will only be provided to the agency or organisation requesting it with individuals’ consent.

How do the igovt services help prevent identity crime?
The igovt identity verification service gives organisations confidence that they are providing services to the correct person, as igovt IDs are issued after a much more robust identity verification process than most current manual identity verification processes.

Which organisations provide igovt services now and what is the projected take-up?
More than 25 services are available via the igovt logon service and the service has been used two million times. There are currently more than 300,000 igovt logons in use.

The igovt identity verification service is in an initial implementation stage and is being used by Births, Deaths and Marriages, so that people can order non-historical certificates (where the person may still be alive). The target audience for this is largely genealogists and almost 1000 have igovt IDs. Feedback about their experience has been very positive.

When do you expect using igovt services to become the norm?
The Department expects take-up of igovt services from the public to increase as more government and private sector organisations offer igovt services. People also interact very frequently with the private sector and if private sector organisations are permitted to begin offering services that people can access using an igovt ID, igovt service use is likely to increase significantly.

What kind of services could banks and other organisations provide using the igovt services?
Banks and other organisations will be able to use the igovt identity verification service for any services that require proof of identity, such as a mortgage application or opening a bank account.

How much will it cost a person to get an igovt ID?
There is currently no cost to get an igovt ID and there are no plans to begin charging people.

How soon will people be able to get their photo taken for their igovt ID at a PostShop?
New Zealand Post is currently rolling out photo capture technology across its network. This photo capture facility will be available from early 2012, with progressive rollout of igovt ID issuance at PostShops anticipated around mid 2012.

What happens to a photo taken at a PostShop?
All the information used to issue an igovt ID, including the photo, will be passed securely to the Department of Internal Affairs. The Department only uses the photo to issue an igovt ID. New Zealand Post will not store any personal information or the photo.

Will private sector use of the igovt services require new legislation?
Private sector use of the igovt identity verification service will require new legislation to be enacted. It is expected that the igovt logon service will continue to be operated under the terms of existing general legislation, such as the Privacy Act 1993.

It is intended that legislation will put in place appropriate protections for people, and penalties for misuse of that service.

What is the timetable for this legislation?
Legislation has now been introduced, but will not receive a first reading until after the election.