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ATO, myGovID, banks, telecoms to rely more on facial recognition


Identity verification laws introduced this week will allow data matching systems to be developed by the Attorney-General’s Department.

By Philip King 12 minute read

The government has introduced laws it says will improve security for those accessing online government services such as the ATO and myGovID as well as banking and telecommunications and will pave the way for a national facial recognition system.

The Attorney-General said the laws would streamline the identity check process without exposing users to identity fraud and theft.

“Australians rightly expect greater protections, transparency and control over their personal information when they provide it to trusted organisations,” Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said.


“The Identity Verification Services Bill 2023 and Identity Verification Services (Consequential Amendments) Bill will help organisations to verify a person’s identity in a way that is secure and private.”

“The bills will put in place important safeguards and security measures to protect Australians online, including:

  • Secure systems in which information and communications must be encrypted and data breaches must be reported.
  • Limits on access so that industry and most government agencies can only access identity verification services for 1:1 matching for the purpose of verifying identity, with the consent of the individual.
  • Strong privacy protections including consent requirements, privacy impact assessments, complaint handling and transparency about how information will be collected, used and disclosed.
  • Penalties for government and industry organisations that do not comply with their obligations, including terminating access to identity verification services.”

The Australian Banking Association said it was “a step in the right direction” in the fight against fraud.

CEO Anna Bligh said the law would allow banks to conduct one-to-one matching of personal information on someone’s passport or driving licence with the record held by the government as long as the bank had the customer’s consent.  

“These new laws help pave the way for Facial Verification Service to be utilised which will help ensure key steps such as opening new accounts have additional safeguards in place,” Ms Bligh said. 

“As scams grow ever more complex and sophisticated, Australia needs all sectors to continue the fight against these financial crimes – this includes government, banks, telcos, social media, law enforcement, crypto platforms and individuals.” 

Under the law, the Attorney-General’s Department will be authorised “to develop, operate and maintain the identity verification facilities (the DVS [Document Verification Service] hub, the Face Matching Service Hub and the NDLFRS [National Drivers Licence Facial Recognition Solution),” the bill said.

“These approved identity verification facilities will be used to provide the identity verification services. These facilities will relay electronic communications between persons and bodies for the purposes of requesting and providing identity verification services.”

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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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