Digital identity glossary

There’s a lot of specialised language in the digital identity program so we’ve put together a list of terms that we get asked about a lot. If you’re interested in learning more, you can also download the Trusted Digital Identity Framework glossary which contains terms that are specific to the framework. 

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Attributes are pieces of information that help verify information about a person. For example, name, address and date of birth.

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Attribute Service Provider

An Attribute Service Provider can verify something about you which a service may need to know. For example, the Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) managed by the Australian Taxation Office can verify relationships between an individual and a business. If you wanted to let your accountant manage your taxes, this relationship would be verified by RAM.

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Credential Service Provider

Organisations and government agencies that undergo the Trust Framework Accreditation Process. They generate and manage authentication credentials which are provided to people. This function may be internalised within an Identity Service Provider.

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Digital identity

A digital identity is created online using personal identity documents, without the need to visit a government office. A digital identity can be used over and over again to securely access a range of government services.

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Digital service

In the digital identity ecosystem, a digital service is a public-facing, online system that requires those using it to prove who they are. They are also known as a relying parties.

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Document Verification Service

The Document Verification Service (DVS) is a system that confirms an identity document by comparing it to a record held by the government. For example, birth certificates are verified by the relevant state agency for births, deaths and marriages. myGovID will rely on this service when issuing someone’s digital identity. The DVS is run by the Department of Home Affairs.

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Face Verification Service

The Face Verification Service (FVS) is a system that confirms an image of a person by matching it against an existing government record. For example, an image of your face taken on your phone can be compared to an image held by the Australian Passport office. myGovID will rely on this service when issuing someone’s digital identity. The FVS is run by the Department of Home Affairs.

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GovPass is the name for the digital identity program of work being delivered. This includes everything from the policy and processes to the technology and systems.

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Identity document

An identity document is a physical record that proves who you are. Examples include a Medicare card, Australian passport or driver’s licence.

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Identity exchange

The identity exchange sits between the digital service and the identity provider. It protects the user’s privacy by making sure:

  • the digital service can’t see the user’s identity documentation
  • the identity provider can’t see which service the user is accessing

The Australian Government’s exchange will be managed by Services Australia

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Identity federation

The identity federation is a trusted circle of organisations, made up of:

  • identity providers — currently only myGovID provided by the Australian Taxation Office
  • attribute providers
  • digital services
  • the identity exchange manager — currently only Services Australia
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Identity proofing

Identity proofing describes the process of collecting and verifying information about a person to confirm their identity. Different online services need different levels of identity proofing. There are 4 levels of identity proofing that apply to different services.

For example, if you want to pay rates, you can stay anonymous. If you want to get a Unique Student Identifier, you will need two identity documents. If you want to apply for Youth Allowance, you will need three identity documents including a photo of yourself. If you want to apply for a passport, you will need identity documents, a photo of yourself and an in-person check.

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Identity service provider

People can use an identity service provider to prove their identity online. There is one Commonwealth Government run identity service provider — myGovID. This is managed by the Australian Taxation Office. We expect other businesses and government agencies to become identity providers in the future to allow people to choose how they prove who they are online.

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myGovID is the Australian Government’s digital identity service provider. Setting up a myGovID account will be like a 100-point identity check, but done online, rather than in person in a government service centre. Once it is set up, a myGovID can be used over and over again as a form of identity to access different government services. This system is operated by the Australian Taxation Office.

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myGov is a secure online portal managed by Services Australia. A myGov account gives users a single place to access government services with one login and one password.

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Privacy Impact Assessment

A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) assesses a project’s risk of non-compliance with privacy legislation. It should tell the ‘full story’ of a project from a privacy perspective, going beyond compliance to also look at broader impacts and risks. This includes whether the planned uses of personal information in the project will be acceptable to the community.

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Trusted Digital Identity Framework

The Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) sets out the rules and standards everyone in the identity federation needs to follow. It also contains guidance for following these rules.

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