OPINION: The Australian government can’t be trusted with our digital IDs

Stock image.
Stock image.

I’M an early adopter of technology and I’m usually holding a phone in my hand.

However, the idea of the Federal Government having access to all our information via a single digital identity makes me uncomfortable.

MORE: Australians will be able to access Federal Government services with a single log-in under a plan to create a “single digital identity” by 2025

In George Orwell’s 1984, a fictional novel that the world seems to become more and more like, individualism is destroyed so governments can better control its citizens.

In fiction and real life, reducing people to a single ID is never a good idea.

Now let me take my tinfoil hat off for a moment and talk about how the Australian Government has failed to understand digital technology or protect our data.

The NBN is a prime example of the government not understanding digital technology.

It has failed to produce a decent National Broadband Service and recently tried to blame people who play online games for why it runs so slow during peak times.

Earlier this year the Federal Government, under the guise of preventing terrorism, revealed a plan to create laws which would compel

Facebook and Google to provide access to private mobile phone use and allow them access to all our private data.

Our Government believes these laws would work, despite Apple going up against the powerful US government and winning, to prevent the FBI from unlocking an iPhone owned by a known terrorist.

Tech companies are not in the businesses of leaking customers’ data to big governments.

Think about it – if tech companies don’t trust governments with our data why should we?

A few years ago, this same government sent out Centrelink debt collection letters to thousands of Australians who didn’t actually owe Centrelink money.

These false debt collection demands were caused by a glitch in Centrelink’s automated system.

In 2017, Australia’s Department of Social Services wrote to 8500 current and former employees warning them that their personal data, which was held by a private contractor, had been breached.

This year, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s acting Australian Information Commissioner and acting Privacy

Commissioner Angelene Falk revealed that most data breaches in Australia were down to human error and not hackers.

Personally, getting married and changing my last name locked me out of my MyGov account.

This account is used to file taxes, update childcare benefit and access Medicare benefits.

I’ve called three different agencies and so far no one can help me re-access this account.

When it comes to technology, the Australian Government has a history of incompetence.

So forgive me for not wanting a digital ID or letting the Australian Government have control of this ID.