The Electronic Identity Verification Service provides individuals with a quick, easy and secure way to verify their identity via the internet to a standard comparable with presenting a passport in person.  The service avoids people repeatedly having to prove their identity in person to different organisations, and avoids the need for those organisations to invest in their own online identity verification capability.

This Bill (introduced on 30 August 2011) will enable the service to be made available to the general public and a wider range of organisations including private sector organisations.

An individual’s use of the service is optional and other ways of interacting with organisations remain available.  If an individual chooses to use the service, an electronic record of a small amount of personal information will be held by the service, which is operated by the Department of Internal Affairs.  The Bill strictly regulates access to personal information held by the service.

Organisations authorised to verify individuals’ identity information through the service will be listed in regulations.  The Bill allows both public and private sector organisations to be listed.  Regulating the service through legislation is intended to protect the service from abuse and ensure its boundaries (including its opt-in nature) are not arbitrarily changed.