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‘Reasonable expectation’: ATO explains myGovID change

The ATO’s chief digital officer has defended the need to transition to myGovID, arguing that it is a “reasonable expectation” to require additional security features in today’s modern environment.

Technology Jotham Lian 18 December 2019
— 2 minute read

Speaking to Accountants Daily, ATO deputy commissioner John Dardo confirmed that a compatible smart device would be required to use myGovID, with no exceptions to those with older or incompatible devices.

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The myGovID app is compatible with most smart devices using either iOS 10 or later or Android 7.0 (Nougat) or later.

“The easy way to describe this is that there is a level of access we now give agents through our systems and a level of information we now give out to agents through our online portals,” Mr Dardo said.

“It is reasonable to expect them to now have a contemporary smart device, almost as a key to access those environments — that is a reasonable expectation.

“It’s not a prohibitive expense. In this day and age, a smartphone is a commodity product.

“They dont have to get a $1,000 or $2,000 handset; it just has to be a compatible smart device and weve found Android versions that are as low as $188 or around $200.”

MyGovID, which will replace AUSkey by the first quarter next year, utilises encryption and cryptographic technology as well as the security features on a device — such as fingerprint, face detection or password — to grant the user access to the government’s online services.

It was developed to overcome a number of mobility and access limitations of AUSkey, including how it was not supported on mobile devices and not compatible with all internet browsers.

According to Mr Dardo, adoption rates are currently three times higher than forecasted, with 280,000 downloads across the Apple App Store and Google Play to date, and an average of 30,000 downloads each day.

Some 1.2 million log-ins have now been recorded, with 105,000 identities now linked to an ABN.

The list of accepted Australian identity documents has also recently been expanded, with birth certificates now being accepted alongside passports, driver’s licences and Medicare cards.

Practitioners will need two of such identity documents to set up myGovID.

Mr Dardo has advised that detailed guidelines around onboarding overseas staff members will be available in the new year, with the ATO currently road-testing the exception process for these users.

Myth busting

“There is a myth out there that you need mobile reception to get access to use the myGovID app and to get access to our online environment — you actually don't,” Mr Dardo said.

“You need the internet — whether that be through WI-FI or not, you need internet.

“If you dont have internet, it doesnt matter because you cant access online services anyway. So, they dont need mobile reception, they just need access to the internet, whether through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, because if you dont have access to the internet, then you cant access the online environment anyway.”

Mr Dardo had also previously assured the profession that myGovID would be “more secure than any credential” and explained how it would be used in a practice with workplace policies on the usage of a mobile phone.

‘Reasonable expectation’: ATO explains myGovID change
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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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