NSW Contracts Thoughtworks for Digital Birth Certificates

The government of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has contracted Canadian consultancy firm Thoughtworks for the design and deployment of the architecture necessary to deliver secure and easily accessible digital birth certificates.

The project is expected to commence by the last quarter of this year and comes at a time when the state is pushing ahead its wider digital ID development efforts.

Per an announcement, the selection of Thoughtworks comes after the state government said last year that it was engaging in consultations for a scheme to develop a national Digital Birth Certificate ecosystem, within the framework of a plan dubbed ‘Government Made Easy.’

Talks about introducing digital birth certificates in Australia are not new.

NSW authorities say the digital birth certificates will be a timely response to some of the problems that arise from the use of physical IDs, and they hope the new document will be widely accepted including by government agencies, educational establishments such as schools, and sporting organizations, when people apply to obtain services.

However, the digital birth certificates are expected to complement the existing paper-based ones, not replace them.

Assistant Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages of NSW Amit Padhiar said the state government is excited to be at the forefront of what is described as a world-first digital birth certificate system that will enable safe and secure identity establishment, verification and authentication.

Padhiar said:

“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.”

Before rolling out the NSW digital birth certificate solution, there will be a trial process not only for quality and accessibility assurance, but also to ensure that the system meets other requirements of regulation, data privacy and security, the announcement notes. The solution will to run on operating systems such as Apple iOS, Android and as a multi-browser web app.

“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,”

said Kristan Vingrys, managing director for Thoughtworks Australia and New Zealand.

NSW is also preparing to launch a pilot for a whole-of-government digital ID system to give state residents expanded access to digital government services.

IBM claimed a world’s first digital birth certificate issuance in Brazil in 2019, utilizing a system that includes both biometrics and blockchain.