Public servants wanted to stop expansion of trusted digital identity scheme

When former minister Stuart Robert wanted to use the digital ID scheme to reveal the names of people behind anonymous social media accounts, Digital Transformation Agency staff balked.

A slide from a meeting about the Trusted Digital Identity system obtained via a freedom of information request (Image: Supplied)

Public servants at the Digital Transformation Agency tried to stop the government’s proposed digital identity bill being used to remove anonymity from social media platforms, after former minister Stuart Robert suggested it as a way to stop online trolling, internal documents reveal.

The federal government has been pursuing a number of programs to verify the identity and the age of Australians online. The Digital Transformation Agency has drafted a Trusted Digital Identity Bill, while the eSafety Commissioner has been developing an age verification roadmap to solve a thorny problem: how can you prove the identity and age of someone behind a computer? 

While there are benefits for people, governments and businesses, there are also concerns about the program, including the risk to privacy that comes from linking someone’s identity to suggested uses such as accessing pornography, buying alcohol or gambling online. 

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