A Digital Identity ‘Card’
Australia says NO
28 October, 2021
Australians have long been sceptical of vast government overreach and highly value their privacy. There should be no surprise then that there is great and growing opposition to the quietly proposed Digital Identity.
In 1985 former Prime Minister Bob Hawke introduced the idea of a national identity card called the ‘Australia Card’. The Australia Card would have amalgamated almost all Government identification documents with the stated goal of reducing tax avoidance and fraud. The Australian people, the Federal Opposition and even Bob Hawke’s colleagues baulked at the idea due to privacy concerns and the proposal was abandoned in 1987.
Identity fraud is an increasing problem in the 21st century but an online database is not a sure-proof way to stop it.
At the Evanta 2016 New York CISO Summit the former Deputy Director of the NSA Chris Inglis said ‘there is no such thing as a secure IT system’. Our Government can take all reasonable steps to protect the personal information of Australians but by centralising our data you are inevitably inviting greater risk. As recently as April 2020 Service NSW was hacked through a series of phishing attacks, 5 million documents were accessed with the sensitive data of 104 000 Australians being stolen.
The draft legislation requires businesses to comply with the Digital Identity system. This will inevitably lead to higher compliance costs. Worse, it is business that is held liable for security breaches alone. There is no redress or compensation for victims outside of taking legal action against the entity that itself was the target of cyber-crime.
If the Government is serious about implementing a Digital Identity then perhaps it should take advice from comedian Rob Sitch’s TV Series Utopia. Sitch’s character Tony Woodford (who opposes a Digital Identity) cleverly suggests that such a scheme could be given a trial in Canberra and that all expenses, diaries and other affairs of MPs and public servants could be recorded to the System permanently. The Digital Identity is then abandoned!
I encourage our members and supporters to write to their local Federal Member of Parliament to oppose a Digital Identity scheme. If you need any assistance please contact my office on 02 9230 2478.
Your privacy matters.
Rev Hon Fred Nile MLC
CDP Parliamentary Leader
02 9230 2478