ATO to ditch AUSkey for myGovID

The Australian Taxation Office will ditch its AUSkey authentication solution in favour of the federal government’s new myGovID digital identity credential.

The single authentication credential, which businesses have used for the the last 8 years to deal with the government online, is now officially destined for the electronic scrap heap.

AUSkey was introduced back in 2010 as part of the ATO’s standard business reporting (SBR) program.

It allows businesses to change an ABN and lodge a business activity statement, as well as to access government services outside the ATO, including from the Department of Human Services and Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

But tax practitioners have complained of limitations with the public key infrastructure and its failure to keep pace with changes in technology.

Last year ATO chief digital officer John Dardo said the agency did not see “a long term future” for AUSkey, and would slowly phase it out over the coming years.

Now the agency has revealed it will replace the credential with the government’s new digital identity credential known as myGovID “to overcome the mobility and access limitations of AUSkey”.

“The intent is to decommission AUSkey by March 2020, so it can no longer be used to access online government services,” the ATO said.

The ATO is managing the myGovID exclusively on behalf of government after being chosen as the Commonwealth’s identity provider earlier this year.

The new credential is part of the GovPass digital identity platform being spearheaded by the Digital Transformation Agency.

GovPass also consists of an exchange run by the Department of Human Services that will operate as the gateway to verify an individual’s credentials without revealing their identity to service providers.

myGovID was formerly known as AUSid – a new digital identity proofing and credential solution that the ATO began building last year – but has been re-badged by the DTA “to align with myGov, the government’s authentication solution”.

It will allow both individuals and businesses to scan and verify their identity documents through the document verification service (DVS) using a device’s camera, as well as choose a preferred credential – such as fingerprint or password – to access online services.

“The credential is a device based authenticator app, paired with native authentication (such as a fingerprint) or password,” the ATO said.

The ATO received $26 million in this year’s federal budget for its involvement with GovPass.

It is currently looking to conduct an IRAP assessment of the myGovID application ahead of trialling it in October.

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