The Government is continuing with its plans to implement a national system for identity theft prevention through document verification by opening up its system to the private sector – despite or because of the slow uptake amongst government entities. The Government is holding on to the failing service in the hope of recovering money through the private sector. We look at this service and the benefit for identity theft prevention and protection of your credit rating.
By Graham Doessel, Founder and CEO of MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs and www.fixmybadcredit.com.au.
Identity theft which escalates to fraudulent identity documents invariably can lead to the perpetrator being able to take out credit in the victim’s name. Access to credit cards, loans and even property can all be possible. The victim can lose their ability to obtain credit if their credit rating is tarnished through identity theft. They may even be refused a mobile phone plan for the term of the credit listing – which is between 5 and 7 years depending on the listing type.
So a few years ago the Government attempted to prevent the growth of fraudulent identity documents by implementing the National Documentation Verification System (DVS).
The DVS forms part of the National Identity Security Strategy and is intended to provide an electronic validation platform that allows authorised government agencies to cross-check identity documents to identify their clients and prevent identity theft or fraud and misuse of the victim’s good credit rating.
“It helps protect people’s identity and their privacy by allowing documents commonly used as evidence of identity to be checked electronically, quickly and directly by the document’s issuing authority,” Former Attorney-General Robert McClelland said in a statement to the media.
“Through the DVS it is possible to verify the validity of Australian-issued passports, visas, as well as birth, marriage and change-of-name certificates and driver licenses from States and Territories.”
According to ZDNet this week, the Government plans to spend $7.5 million more on this service to open it up to local businesses. ZD Net says in its story Budget 2012: ID verification opened to business, this is in order to recoup losses from the system’s troubled deployment since its $28.3 million inception in the 2006-7 Budget.
In our post last year Can Official Documents Be Forged to Commit Identity Fraud? we blogged about the flailing DVS system. The road to implementation of this system had been neither cheap nor easy, with many reports of agencies failing to implement the system.
At the time, technology and security publication, CSO criticised the slow take-up of the service in its article ‘Australia crawls towards its answer to identity fraud’.
The story features the Australian National Audit Office’s report on the program’s implementation. The Report slammed the program’s sluggish roll out, noting that the “rarely used” system was unlikely to strengthen Australia’s personal identification process in the near future.
It says the main problem was that many of the identity issuer and user agencies, such as Centrelink, the Department of Immigration, and state road authorities and birth and death registries, were not connected to DVS. Verification using the system also took longer than 20 seconds in a quarter of transactions, eroding its promised efficiency gains and convenience
Possible merits for business
According to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon this week, opening the system up to the private sector will allow the government to recover the cost of the program by bringing in an estimated revenue of $6.9 million per year through transaction fees for the service.
The government claims that the service will help businesses save money by reducing unnecessary manual processes, data collection and recordkeeping. It has already seen interest from businesses in the telecommunications and financial-services industries.
“Extending the document-verification service to business will improve identity security and support law-enforcement efforts against identity crime,” Roxon says in ZD Net.
Businesses will be able to apply to use the service from the end of this year.
The verification service does not allow access by agencies or private companies to the databases themselves, but rather sends encrypted verification requests to the relevant document issuing authority, which returns either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response to verify that person’s identity.
With an ever-growing risk of identity theft for consumers and with it the pressure of compliancy to stronger privacy laws for business we may see this system take off as a potential safeguard for identity verification in the private sector in the future.
If you would like more infromation about identity theft or need help in recovering your good credit rating, contact a reputable credit rating repairer, MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs tollfree on 1300 667 218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.