The Government is proposing the introduction of a single-user name and password for accessing all online government services, via australia.gov.au. The site would use 'smart forms' to automatically draw a user's details from various government departments - such as inserting Medicare details into electronic tax forms. In the Budget of May 2007, the vast sum of $42 million was allocated to the project.
The government's poor track record on dealing with privacy issues, such as with the Access Card, does not bode well for the introduction of a single sign-on service, said the Australian Privacy Foundation's Anna Johnston.
"Single sign-on has the potential to be dangerous," Ms Johnston says. "If the way they're going to introduce a single sign-on is to have a single national ID or not, that would be of concern. "As with the Access Card, it's not the technology that's the problem. It's not that we're against smartcard technology, it can be used for good or for bad.
"The same with a single sign-on, you could do it in a privacy-protected manner but our concern is so far that this government has shown very little inclination to develop things in a privacy-protected manner. The government seems to see privacy as an issue to be managed rather than an issue to be incorporated into the design of a project."
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