New Zealanders are now set to apply for a new online identity verification service starting next Monday after the government promised adequate security and privacy. Dubbed RealMe, the services are voluntary and will be run by the Department of Internal Affairs and New Zealand Post. RealMe service is building on the iGovt identity verification service, and aims to let users log into a range of government websites with a single username and password. A relative who reside in Auckland revealed to me that RealMe will replace the present iGovt single login service that provides access to many New Zealand government services like tax, healthcare and social welfare. Users with existing iGovt logins will have them converted to RealMe accounts. According to the details, identity verification will last five years and can be used for financial services such as obtaining a mortgage from a bank without physically having to visit a branch to sign documents. The project is fully backed by the New Zealand government. A former workmate in Melbourne involved with the project told me last night that the service offers stronger levels of security and identity verification compared to the existing online transactions identities.
The new service is expected to help banks and financial institutions to comply with new due diligence requirements under the country’s anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism laws. RealMe service is expected to benefits consumers immensely. The Government is also said to be mulling on several initiatives that could allow travellers to fill out departure cards online before leaving the country. From July 1st, businesses in New Zealand will be able to sign up, and users will prove their identity using the same user name and password. Users of RealMe will have absolute control over access to the data used for the service and crucially, the data itself will not be stored in a central RealMe database and will also remain in others such as the New Zealand register of births and deaths. The high level of security means a code will be texted to their mobile phone every time their RealMe identity is used. Businesses like banks will provide much higher level of identity verification compared to current one because of the hook up with the government. Apart from the added security, personally I think that the advantage would be the potential for a high strength log-on that will be used in many places. One user name and password could end up be used across multiple applications that give real benefit to the New Zealanders.