by George Nott

NSW birth certificates, property titles and motor rego headed for the blockchain

Sep 10, 2018
Business IntelligenceCareersCollaboration Software

Secure Logic, makers of the blockchain platform underpinning the NSW Government’s digital driver’s licence pilot, has revealed its ambitions for the technology across a bevy of state government services.

The Sydney-based tech firm today launched TrustGrid, which it describes as a “secure, decentralised and immutable ledger of transactions.” The platform allows agencies and organisations such as hospitals and financial institutions to “create private consortiums of trust entities on the fly”.

The technology powered the NSW Government’s digital driver’s licence pilot earlier this year, during which 1,400 Dubbo residents used their digital ID in roadside police checks, pubs and liquor stores.

A second pilot will take place in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs – covering Bondi, Bondi Junction, Bronte, Clovelly, Coogee, Randwick and Waverley – in November.

Statewide release is planned for 2019 following the passing in May of theRoad Transport and Other Legislation Amendment (Digital Driver Licences and Photo Cards) Act 2018, allowing a full-scale rollout of the new system.

Secure Logic CEO Santosh Devaraj said driver’s licences are just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the blockchain-backed transformation of government services. The company is eyeing applications across Higher School Certificate (HSC), TAFE and other academic results, motor registration, birth and death certificates, medical records, and property titles.

“The era of standing in line to file government paperwork is coming to an end. As is our reliance on physical identification cards to establish your identity or proof of age with law enforcement or at licenced venues. These are mistake prone, time-consuming, expensive and impractical ways to offer services,” Devaraj said.

The advantages of digital licenses – which will be opt-in when available, the NSW government has said – include citizens having fewer cards to carry, the ability to easily update details and renew cards, and security benefits.

TrustGrid, Devaraj claimed, could stop fraudsters being able to use fake identities.

“Too often licence details are only checked superficially and this can now be replaced with cryptographic mechanisms. For example, should a criminal attempt to enter a bank and withdraw someone else’s money, the Trustgrid platform would enable a teller to do a digital scan of the licence, initiating an authentication process that only the true identity owner could complete,” he said.

It could also be applied to the MyHealthRecord to enable users to “set the terms of their own digitised contract” which determines what personal information can be disclosed and where.

NSW began the rollout of digital licenses in 2016, beginning with digital versions of fishing licences and Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA), and the Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) Competency Card.

Within a year 20,000 people had signed up to the various digital licenses, which are based on the Service NSW appand an individual’s MyServiceNSW account.

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The South Australian government at the end of last year also began rolling out optional digital driving licenses. It followed a successful phase-in of phase-in for digital proof of age cards, boat licence, land agent and land sales representative registrations and vehicle registrations.

Devaraj called on other state governments to make a move towards digital licenses, and educate citizens about the technology.

“People will always be sceptical about the pace of change and new technologies. In the short term, the Federal Government faces an uphill battle in implementing large-scale, national initiatives, like My Health Record – there are too many agendas and misinformation is derailing sensible debate,” he said.

“Instead, digitisation must be led through state-based policies and effective implementation at the local level; where people most often interact with government. If government can demonstrate trust between people and public services by providing a technology platform that enhances privacy, integrity and consent, both acceptance and the rate of change will improve dramatically,” Devaraj added.