Digital licences are coming to NSW next year, state government announces
NSW Minister of Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet will be announcing the introduction of digital licences. Photo: James Alcock
The NSW state government is following up its 2015 election promise to deliver digital licences, with the first downloadable batch coming out mid 2016.
The first licences to go digital will be recreational fishing licences, responsible service of alcohol (RSA) licences, and responsible conduct of gambling (RCG) licences.
NSW Minister of Finance and Services, Dominic Perrottet, is expected to announce the initiative on Wednesday during his keynote speech at the GovInnovate forum in Canberra.
A supplied mock up of what a digital driver’s licence might look like in late 2018.
“This technology will allow our citizens to display, apply, update and renew their licences using their smartphone, with real time information also available,” he is expected to say.
Physical licences will still be available to those who want them.
Previously, anyone collecting an RSA or RCG licence would have to visit a Service NSW centre, which can be problematic for people in rural areas due to the lack of centres in those areas.
With online security a big issue in this day and age, the safety of the information in the digital licences will surely be questioned.
To combat this, Mr Perrottet will announce the digital licences will have “security safeguards” built into them so it will be easier for authorities to verify their validity.
Exactly what safeguards those are is unclear.
Security expert Troy Hunt said much of our information was already online.
A mock up of NSW digital licences coming mid-2016. Photo: Supplied
“A move to digitising licenses is not so much introducing a new security risk as it is changing the existing security position,” he said. “Our licensing data already exists online (you can check your demerit points via the RTA website), plus we’ve seen many cases of fraud with physical licenses.”
He added that the move was “consistent with other trends of digitising previously card-based assets”.
“Apple Pay is a perfect example; I literally just signed up to that … as the convenience factor is fantastic and we’re talking about assets are already digitised. There will be new risks, no doubt, but I don’t think the chance to risk is as big as some people think.”
The NSW government issues about 23 million licences each year with nearly 770 different types of licence and identification cards available across the state.
Additional digital licences will be made available in the future, with another five common licences available online in 2017. Asked when driver’s licences would go digital, the state government said they are working on making them available towards the end of 2018.