In essence, the new regime will provide for people to hold a digital version of their licence or government-issued photo identity card on their mobile phones. The biometric image will be used by NSW Police in relation to road management and, presumably, for other law enforcement.
The expectation is that it will also have extensive use across the private sector (for example in over 14,200 venues under NSW liquor law), consistent with the driver licence being the default identity document for most adult Australians.
NSW will presumably be emulated by the other state/territory jurisdictions
The IGA and the Hub
The Second Reading Speech understandably does not refer to sharing of images and other data with the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs under the identity-matching services interoperability hub to be operated by that Department.
That hub is at the heart of the current Identity-matching Services Bill 2018 (Cth) - noted here - to 'facilitate the secure, automated and accountable exchange of identity information between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments' under the October 2017 Intergovernmental Agreement on Identity Matching Services (IGA).
Under the IGA, the Commonwealth, states and territories agreed to preserve or introduce legislation to support the collection, use and disclosure of facial images and related identity information between the parties, via a set of identity-matching services, for
- Preventing identity crime
- General law enforcement
- National security
- Protective security
- Community safety
- Road safety, and
- Identity verification.
facilitates data-sharing between agencies on a query and response basis, without storing any personal information. Passport, visa and citizenship images will continue to be held by the Commonwealth agencies that issue these documents, and that already have facial recognition systems.
Driver licence images will be made available by the establishment of a National Driver Licence Facial Recognition Solution (NDLFRS), hosted by the Commonwealth on behalf of the states and territories in accordance with the IGA. The NDLFRS will consist of a federated database of identification information contained in government identification documents (initially driver licences) issued by state and territory authorities, and a facial recognition system for biometric comparison of facial images against facial images in the database..The NSW Bill
The 2nd Reading Speech states
As at the end of 2017 there were over six million New South Wales driver licences and over 568,000 photo cards in use.
The bill delivers on the Government's 2015 election commitment to transition to digital driver licences by 2019. It also supports the Government's digital strategy, the Premier's priority to improve government services and the State priority of 70 per cent of government transactions to be conducted by digital channels by 2019. In 2015 the New South Wales Government announced its commitment to offering the people of New South Wales a range of digital licences, including a transition to digital driver licences by 2019. Since then this Government has successfully digitised the responsible service of alcohol and responsible conduct of gambling competency cards, the recreational fishing fee, boat driver licences and recreational vessel registrations. This bill will take the next step by delivering the digital driver licence and the digital photo card.
Digitising the driver licence and photo card is an opportunity to provide benefits for the community of New South Wales in three key areas. Firstly, for the citizens of New South Wales the digital driver licence and digital photo card will provide greater convenience, choice and security. Digital licences are also an opportunity for citizens to have more control and transparency over how the personal information on their licence is shown and shared with others.
The reality is that a digital driver licence or digital photo card brings a multitude of additional benefits and protections for users. One example of this is when a licence is lost. If you lose a physical driver licence or you have your wallet stolen, you have no ability to stop it being used by another person for nefarious purposes. Sure, you can report it to police and to Service NSW but once a licence is lost there is no way to cancel it in the way you would a credit card because so much checking of the licence is simply sighting it rather than it being scanned. There is a risk that it can still be used.
Then to replace a lost physical card you must attend a Service NSW centre in person and apply for a new card, which would be sent to you sometime after applying for it. This process takes time out of your busy day and is a major inconvenience. However, for a digital driver licence it is a much more secure proposition. Say you lose your phone that has your digital driver licence on it. You eventually have to go out and buy new device but you are concerned that your digital driver licence is on there. As soon as you know your phone has been lost or stolen you can log into Service NSW and cancel your digital driver licence on that device.
You will know if it is used by someone who is not you as you will have access to an activity log, just like you have with your Opal card. By being able to cancel their card at the click of a button the citizen is empowered to take control of their identity security and privacy and ensure that their licence cannot be used or scanned by an unauthorised person, just like they can with their credit card. To replace your digital driver licence you simply take your new device, re-download the app, accept the digital driver licence on the new phone and away you go.
For businesses in New South Wales, digital licences present an opportunity to streamline manual processes for checking or recording licence details. This means that businesses may deliver a better experience for their customers and benefit from time and cost savings. Digital licences can also provide a greater level of assurance, reducing risks of fraud and loss. For government, this development will mean simpler and faster ways to communicate and interact with citizens—for example, digital notifications and licence renewals for those who prefer to deal with us in that way.
The NSW photo card is an increasingly important identity product; in 2017 alone there was a 28.38 per cent increase in its adoption. This makes it a priority for digitisation. A digital photo card is also not constrained by the national driver licensing framework and therefore may be delivered in a more flexible form to enhance citizen privacy—for example, providing citizens with more control over the personal information they share, depending on the situation, such as to security staff at licensed venues. It will also give citizens a digital identity product that is independent of their authority to drive.Private Sector use
The Speech quotes industry support
The Australian Hotels Association: The continued expansion of smartphone technology for cardless transactions will see the use of wallets as an option rather than a necessity, based on these feedback from our Dubbo members. The AHA NSW is supportive of the expansion of the digital driver licence statewide.
The Liquor Stores Association: [The LSA] remains supportive of a full statewide rollout of the digital driver licence as it will give packaged liquor retailers, licensees and their staff at the point of purchase a safe and efficient digital service control age verification measure.
The Restaurant and Catering Association: I am firmly of the view that this project will be of significant benefit to the approximately 14,200 café and restaurant businesses in New South Wales. The addition of the digital driver licence as a valid form of identification will provide patrons with a more seamless method of ordering alcohol in licensed cafes and restaurants. It is for this reason I have no hesitation in supporting a state-wide rollout of the digital driver licence.
ClubsNSW: Proper implementation of digital drivers' licences will be a positive development in better equipping clubs for the digital future and the industry is excited for what these changes mean. I look forward to continuing to work closely with industry as we progress to implementation of the digital driver licence and the digital photo card and thank them for their support to date. I now go through the statewide rollout of the digital driver licence and digital photo card.Privacy is 'sacrosanct'
The Minister comments
Once launched, the people of New South Wales will be able to opt-in to receive a digital driver licence and digital photo card. These will essentially constitute a digital representation of a person's physical driver licence or photo card.
The digital versions will be in addition to the physical licence or card, and accessible via the MyServiceNSW app, which can be downloaded to their device, such as a smartphone. The digital driver licence and digital photo card will provide a secure and user-friendly experience and be able to be authenticated visually, by viewing the visual security features, or electronically. Citizens who opt in for the digital driver licence will have the option of carrying or producing either their digital driver licence or their physical licence card when driving in New South Wales. Citizens will also be able to show their digital driver licence or digital photo card as evidence of their age and of their identity in the liquor and gaming industry to enter pubs and registered clubs, and in a variety of ways that the driver licence and photo card is currently used.The rhetoric ramps up, complete with reference to privacy being sacrosanct ...
As many in this House know, a mobile phone is so much more than just a digital driver licence. A phone is a person's personal property and may also be used to store and access personal and private information. To ensure appropriate privacy and a citizen's right to maintain control of their personal electronic device, a driver will only need to display their digital driver licence on their device to the police or authorised officer in order for their digital driver licence to be checked. I am pleased that the Privacy Commissioner has supported this approach, stating, "This will ensure the privacy rights of an individual who holds personal information on their phone beyond the digital driver licence is preserved." ...
The member for Cessnock also will recall how important it was that, when we debated that legislation, both sides of politics agreed that privacy was sacrosanct. I do not think there is any debate in this Chamber when it comes to putting the privacy of the citizen front and centre. Indeed, when we drafted the Data Analytics Centre legislation—the Data Sharing (Government Sector) Act 2015, as it was appropriately titled—we made sure that the Privacy Commissioner was involved from the ground up in the steering committee so that we achieved the right outcome. In preparing this legislation, we engaged the Privacy Commissioner because privacy is beyond politics. It is an absolutely enshrined right of the citizen.Further
One final question, which in my view is the most important of all, is: How does the digital driver licence and digital photo card ensure security of personal information and protect against fraud? To obtain a digital driver licence and digital photo card, a person is required to register for a MyServiceNSW account and establish their identity to link their account with Roads and Maritime Services. Once verified, the person's driver licensing or photo card information and photograph is securely released to the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation and Service NSW digital platforms to be processed to create the digital driver licence and digital photo card in the Service NSW app. None of the information or photographs is stored by the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation or Service NSW platforms. The digital driver licence and digital photo card are securely stored on a person's device. On top of any device PIN code or touch identification—fingerprint—the Service NSW app is also PIN code protected to ensure that the person's personal information remains safe and secure.Identity Crime
In relation to identity crime the Speech states that
Visually, the digital driver licence contains several features that can be sighted to ensure that it is not a screenshot or a fake. The digital driver licence can then be further verified by police using a "MobiPol" device, which scans a digital driver licence to initiate a search against backend police systems without the police officer having to manually type in the licence number.
Approximately 95 per cent of road traffic infringements issued by police are issued through MobiPol devices and the digital driver licence leverages this technology. In network blackspots where MobiPol is unable to connect to backend police systems, police may still verify the digital driver licence in the same way as a physical licence: by radioing back to station or using the terminals in their vehicles.
The digital driver licence and digital photo card include several visual security features that can be sighted to ensure that it is not a fake or a screenshot. For example, the design includes animations and a hologram. The digital driver licence and digital photo card also include a quick response code that may be scanned to verify its authenticity. Unauthorised use of a digital driver licence and digital photo card may also be detected through a device management framework and activity log, which will notify the person of logins from unrecognised devices or other unusual activity.
This would mean that if someone living in Sydney has opted in to have a digital driver licence, whenever that digital driver licence is scanned they could be notified by email instantly of when and where that was done—just like a credit card. For example, if your card was scanned in Byron Bay by someone seeking to defraud you, you could instantly deactivate the digital driver licence and inform Service NSW and/or the police of the breach. This tangible security and fraud benefit comes with the digital driver licence and simply is not available with the physical card. I am pleased that the Privacy Commissioner supports this added level of protection, stating: "The recommendation that holders of a digital driver licence are notified of transactions including third party checks is supported".