The New South Wales Government has selected Thoughtworks Australia to develop and deploy a new digital birth certificate, aimed to provide citizens with “highly secure, anytime, anywhere access” to the seminal identity document.
The NSW Government announced in April 2021 its commitment to spearhead a cross-jurisdictional project to develop a national digital birth certificate. The digital birth certificate is among a number of digital identity and certification documents that have been launched by the state government in recent years, with a digital driver’s licence made available in late 2019 and a digital contractor licence released in March this year, both accessible through the Service NSW app.
Under the terms of the contract, Thoughtworks will deliver a fully integrated digital product, expected to be launched in late 2022, that would operate across Apple iOS and Android operating systems, as well as a multi-browser web app.
Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello stressed at the time of the announcement of a forthcoming digital birth certificate that a key priority would be its security and protection from potential fraudsters. He added that any digital birth certification solution should be opt-in only while adhering to the highest privacy standards.
The digital birth certificate is expected to be widely accepted by government authorities, businesses, schools, and sporting organisations.
Once released, the digital birth certificate would be optional for NSW residents, complementing rather than replacing the paper birth certificate.
Amit Padhiar, from NSW Births Deaths and Marriages, noted that NSW would deliver a world-first holistic digital solution for the state’s birth certificates, providing “effective, safe and secure identity establishment, verification, authentication and management.”
“This exercise is about delivering greater convenience to our customers, but it is critically important to do so while protecting their information and meeting other key criteria such as accessibility and ease-of-use across multiple devices and platforms and providing the ability to opt-in and opt-out,” Padhiar said.
Prior to its selection of Thoughtworks as partner on the project, the NSW Government had conducted research and consulted citizens to help establish principles for product design.
“Every industry is facing pressure to become more digitally nimble, and we are incredibly proud to be working with the NSW Government on such a momentous step forward into our digital future – one that will set a new standard for other states and countries to follow,” Kristan Vingrys, managing director for Thoughtworks Australia and New Zealand said.
Upon being beta tested, assured for quality and web content accessibility (WCAG) and passing all applicable legal and regulatory requirements, the digital birth certificate product will also need to meet specifications relating to data privacy and cybersecurity, the Government said.