New Zealand extending online government services with ID innovation

Govt-backed online identity system – ‘RealMe’ ready to go (Scoop)

From this week, New Zealanders can begin signing up for RealMe – the only online identity verification service backed by the New Zealand government.

Instead of waiting in line with paper identity documents each time they want a service requiring ID from a government or private sector organisation, people will soon be able to prove their identity online with RealMe and apply for services from home.

New Zealand seems to be quietly building a very advanced ID infrastructure that links government identity documents, government services and the postal service together through biometrics, facial recognition in this case.

New Zealand Post office to offer ID assurance services

New Zealand Post online ID system backed by lawmakers (Post & Parcel)

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.

NZ Post is set to get even more involved in ID services (see last year’s New Zealand ID Management: New Possibilities).

Around the world, enterprising postal services — who have seen their traditional business model of moving paper around steadily eroded — have been changing adding more explicit identity management services. I say “more explicit” because I believe it can be argued that the primary function of the postal service has always been identity management, the paper part was just ancillary to the ID part.

This post, The Post Office, Identity Assurance & Biometrics, expands on the theme.

Click Postal Service (or use the label in the footer) for more on post offices and ID services.

Biometrics enable micro-lending in Namibia

Namibia: Another Step Forward for Access to Banking (All Africa)

In terms of the agreement, PostFin will use the DBN credit line to finance small businesses, housing and education.

The micro-lending agreement builds on the existing relationship between NamPost and DBN. NamPost previously used DBN finance to implement electronic banking with biometric account management, which has substantially improved access to banking in Namibia, particularly in smaller centres and hard to access areas.

Read on and you’ll also learn that in Namibia, like in other countries, the postal service is getting in on the ID business.

Click the ‘Postal Service’ label below for more examples.

UID & India Post: Delhi Edition

Lost in transit: UIDAI says cards dumped in bulk in city (Express India)

…UID cards issued to Delhi residents are being lost in transit by the postal service.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has asked India Post to immediately plug the gaps in the distribution network, Kumar Alok, Deputy Director General for Administration, Logistics and Media, UIDAI, told Newsline.

He said the UIDAI has faced such problems across the country during the project’s first phase “but the issue was bigger in Delhi”.

This has been a problem for a while now.

See:
India: UID May Ditch India Post (March 5, 2012)

Post Offices Streamlining Government Services with Biometrics

The UK Post Office is active in the ID management industry, serving as a clearing house between individuals residing in Britain and various government bureaucracies dealing with ID and now Post Office Limited has processed the biometric information of more than one and a half million applicants through its Applicant Enrollment Identification (AEI) service.

The UK Post Office serves as a customer service link between individuals and the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the UK Border Agency, capturing applicant information such as fingerprints, photographs, and digital signatures and charging a fee of £19.20.

The DVLA uses the AEI service to allow drivers to renew their drivers’ licenses. By capturing drivers’ photographs and digital signatures at Post Office branches, the service has automated the renewal process that occurs every ten years. Using AEI, the renewal process takes an average of 3.5 – 5 minutes.

The UK Border Agency uses Post Office branches to record and securely transmit biometric information and other applicant data for those wishing to extend their visas. Once the digital signature, photograph, and fingerprints are received and checked by the UK Border Agency and they are satisfied with all aspects of the immigration application, the UK Border Agency issues the foreign national a Biometric Residence Permit.

Here’s how it works…

National post offices are in a unique position to offer services like these. Some have been better than others at managing through the information revolution. Australia blazed a trail that the UK followed. The template is there for others to follow.

Unfortunately it’ll be difficult to pull off in the United States because most ID is administered at the state, rather than at the national level. The US Postal Service does provide passport services for first-time passport requests and charges $25 for the service, but it’s largely locked out of the more lucrative ID business the state’s have carved out for themselves.

See also: 3M’s press release about its relationship with Post Office Limited

Indian State of Uttar Pradesh Isn’t Waiting for UID

Uttar Pradesh to give foodgrain via biometric cards (Thaindian News)

Uttar Pradesh will computerise the public distribution system and issue biometric smart cards to its residents, an official said Thursday.

Chief Secretary Javed Usmani said foodgrain would be provided to people only through smart cards to flush out fake ration cards from the system.

In the first phase, 18 districts would be covered as pilot project.

Uttar Pradesh Isn’t Waiting for UID. Judging by the scant information in this article, they’re forging ahead anyway.

We mentioned here how Nandan Nilekani was creating competition for India Post in order to gain access to better services for delivering UID numbers to individuals.

Could the shoe now be on the other foot?

Is UID going to have to improve its performance in competition with states who appear willing to set up their own systems?

ID Entrepreneurs: Criminal Background Checks

Demand is high, the business is inherently local, and the US Postal Service doesn’t seem interested.

Checking backgrounds for a living (Journal-News – Hamilton, Ohio)

“There is a need now, and an even bigger need in the future, for employee background screenings,” Louderback said. “Anyone who works for the government or with kids has to have one.

“It’s a pretty untapped market,” she said. “Not a lot of people do it. There are opportunities out there. You just have to go out and get them. That’s the hardest part.”

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