Negotiations Over New Zealand’s IGovt Identity Plan

Tom Pullar-Strecker, of Stuff.Co.NZ, an online news agency, reports in an article published February 7, 2011, that the New Zealand Government is working with NZ Post (New Zealand's postal service) "to promote its $122 million iGovt identity system, which may now be mirrored in the United States by the Obama Administration."  Internal Affairs – the Government's go-to agency for iGovt – is currently negotiating with NZ Post to produce a final system "'that maintains the high level of public confidence and trust in the way people's information is managed by the Government.'" 

Under New Zealand's iGovt system, people enroll in the voluntary system by visiting a "post shop to be digitally photographed and have their credentials checked . . . and obtain a password and logon."  According to the article, users will also either register their mobile phone so that "a code could be texted to them whenver they wanted to access a secure service online," or they would be issued a "hardware token" similar to those already used by many banks.  

In 2009, the New Zealand Government ordered Internal Affairs to reach out to the private sector for "energy and ideas."  At that same time, the Government forecasted that iGovt would produce benefits between $641 million and $1.37 billion over then next ten years. 

The news article draws the obvious parallel to the Obama Administration's National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which was recently championed by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as "'[a system] enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.'"

In 2009, when New Zealand's Internal Affairs reached out to the private sector, of the issues and concerns raised by private businesses were "whether the Government would be liable if [the private sector] relied on iGovt to authenticate someone's identity and later found they had been defrauded."  According to the news article, "[o]fficials indicated that was unlikely."




The entire news article from Stuff.Co.NZ can be found at the link provided above, or here.  Here is a link to New Zealand's iGovt site for further details.  


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