Australia launches myGov digital identity mobile app, ‘at long last’

After long delays, the Australian government’s myGov mobile app has launched, with integrated biometric facial recognition log-in capabilities and a digital wallet, according to the Financial Review.

The app is designed to become a single “digital location” to manage identity and provide mobile access to both government and private sector services. Minister Bill Shorten, who launched the app at the Sydney Opera House, said it will enable users to access 15 government services, with authentication through biometric checks that also include fingerprint verification, QR codes, and a six-digit PIN. He called the launch a “quantum leap forward” for government services in Australia.

“Today’s announcement means no more annoying myGov inbox announcements that send you somewhere else to go somewhere else,” said Shorten, the Minister of Government Services. Shorten believes the app will make access simpler and faster for millions of Australians, “at long last.”

The launch brings Australia’s federal digital identity platform up to date with some state level systems, connecting users with tax platforms and the Centrelink government payment system. For now, its digital wallet will not include an embedded Medicare card, as the health agency deals with ongoing delays. But Shorten promised that Medicare functionality would be added soon.

The move by prime minister Anthony Albanese’s government was driven in part by security concerns, after some agencies were targeted for ransomware attacks and attempts at extortion. In October 2022, a data breach from Optus exposed valid, current IDs of 1.2 million people.

Shorten said the myGov platform would limit the need for individual organizations and providers to collect and store personal data.

The launch of myGov marks a significant milestone in Australia’s larger campaign to implement digital reforms and consolidate services.

“People expect online services to be simple to use,” said Shorten in a media release. “The new myGov app is another important step forward in the transformation of Australien government digital services.”

The myGov app is available in the App Store and on Google Play.

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