New Zealand Post online ID system backed by lawmakers

New Zealand has adopted legislation granting the powers for a new national online identity verification service run by the government jointly with New Zealand Post. The Electronic Identity Verification Act was passed by the nation’s Parliament last week, allowing private sector organisations to access the RealMe ID verification service.

The service launches in 2013 to verify people that use certain services over the Internet are who they claim to be.

It will allow consumers to use a single log-in to access various private and private sector services online.

New Zealand Post is promising a “simple, secure” process using RealMe, guarding against identity theft and helping to cut queues by allowing more transactions like government services to be carried out online.

Mandy Smith, a New Zealand Post spokesperson, said: “Currently, the most an organisation usually knows about its online contacts is that they have a valid username and password; you still can’t be sure that they are who they claim to be.

“There’s a massive amount of business that would happen online if only the service could be certain of the identity of the person on the other side of the online transaction. RealMe fully responds to this clear business need.”

RealMe

The new ID service is being developed out of the Department of Internal Affairs’ existing igovt services, which was in gestation seven years before being launched in 2006 to manage births, deaths and marriages data.

Consumers will have to have their identity checked physically every five years to maintain their RealMe account, with a biometric photo taken at a local PostShop.

Fiona Mullacrane, a spokesperson for the government’s Department of Internal Affairs, said people would be able to access more services online from government agencies as well as private sector firms like banks and insurance companies.

The service will also help financial institutions meet ID verification requirements under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act, which takes effect at the end of June 2013.

“It’ll be optional for those organisations to adopt RealMe,” said Mullacrane. “For those that do, their customers are likely to appreciate the easy, quick and safe transactions made possible by RealMe, and it allows them to transform their business model and operating costs.”

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