AGS is working with the Attorney-General's Department (AGD) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on key elements of the Government's approach to identity security. AGS's advice has supported our clients in developing systems to ensure that government agencies that collect, store or use identity information have effective identity security measures in place.

Identity security is central to Australia's national security, law enforcement and economic interests. Government agencies and businesses rely increasingly on the credibility of a person's identity information as evidence of who they are during a transaction. However, this is a particular challenge as businesses and governments take advantage of the opportunities of
the digital economy.

National Document Verification Service

AGD's National Document Verification Service (DVS) is part of the Australian Government's commitment to protecting the identity of Australians. The service is a secure system that can be used to check, in real-time, whether a document is accurate and up-to-date.

A project extending access to the DVS will enable automated online verification of information from Commonwealth, State and Territory-issued documents such as passports, Medicare cards, driver's licences and birth certificates, to be available to private sector organisations required to perform identity checks.

For AGS, this involved designing an appropriate legal framework for the service and terms and conditions for organisations with a need for strong identity verification facilities, in particular banks and other financial institutions, telecommunications carriers, casinos and gaming facility operators, gateways, information brokers and end-users.

Tony Beal (Deputy General Counsel Commercial) and Swee-Kim Tan (Senior Lawyer) provided extensive support to AGD in this project, including drafting conditions of use, providing risk and liability advice and attending to contractual and procurement arrangements. They also supported the complex ongoing multi-party negotiations with stakeholders (State and Territory governments), official record-holders (Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies that issue documents relevant to identity verification), and major business users.

This is an extract from the 2012–13 AGS annual report