ACT Digital Canberra Challenge - ID Submission

Submission by Kevin Cox of Welcomer.

Sent to

This is in response to the second challenge.

Challenge Statement

The ability to provide your own smartcard-style chip that could be used to access ACTION buses, library services, possibly expanding to national level for Medicare and Centrelink cards. The system could be based on the use of a single ID card in accessing services provided by the ACT Government (health – doctor appointments, medication etc.; education – enrolment in schools etc.; transport – car registration, ACTION buses card, parking etc.; cultural & entertainment – library, events ticketing / booking etc.)

Desired outcomes:

Simplified, potentially single ID card to access services in Canberra.

Challenge Summary - in our own words

The challenge involves linking various services to a single electronic ID. This electronic ID can be attached to a smartcard-style chip, an ID card or any of a number of other technologies. The challenge has several components:

i) Provide a service to give individuals their own electronic ID that can be used to access ACTION buses, library services, possibly expanding to national level for Medicare and Centrelink cards. This system could allow the use of a single ID card, chosen by individuals, to access services provided by the ACT Government (health – doctor appointments, medication etc.; education – enrolment in schools etc.; transport – car registration, ACTION buses card, parking etc.; cultural & entertainment – library, events ticketing / booking etc.)

iii) Provide a service to give individuals their own smartcard-style chip that can be attached to their electronic ID and be used to access services as agreed by different organisations.

iv) Provide a service to allow individuals to use existing cards issued by different organisations to attach to their electronic ID and be used to access services as agreed by different organisations.


Simplified private personal ID system that integrates existing cards, future cards, usernames/passwords for the individual.  The individual has a standard way of identifying themselves no matter what device they use and with whom they use it.

Addressing the Challenge

MVP Trial

The prototype will provide ways for an individual to create their electronic ID and connect it to a Community Group. A demonstration of WelcomerID can be viewed at In summary WelcomerID allows an individual to verify and authenticate their identity to an organisation.  WelcomerID is not an ID in and of itself, but is a standard way for an individual to verify who they are to an organisation.

When an individual connects with the Community Group they will be registered with the Group and receive a Community Group ID. The registration becomes part of an individual's personal cloud or total electronic ID. The community group will suggest members connect to another ACT government service and check their postal address with Medicare and the ACT Electoral Office. Individual Members will be asked to nominate and send emails to others who might be interested in connecting with the Community Group.

The trial will demonstrate that people can create IDs via a Community Group, that the electronic IDs created can be used to connect to a government service and to acquire information from that government service.

A Community group or club who is already producing ID Cards will be approached to use the ACT ID information to produce their ID Card.

The MyCard organisation will be approached to allow their existing cards to be attached to a person's electronic id so that the person can readily access their MyWay information.

View this YouTube presentation to see an outline of ACT ID.  The text of the presentation is supplied at the end of this document.

Acquiring Users: Creating an acceptable single ID card via community groups

The solution proposed is built on the idea of a person having control over their own electronic identity. An electronic identity (or personal cloud) consists of all the personal information, where-ever held, that can be linked (by the user) to an individual's physical presence and the physical objects they possess, such as an ACT ID card.

Individuals are able to provide their own ID Cards by first creating their own verified and trusted electronic ID.  Once an electronic id, under the control of an individual, is established it is possible for the individual to provide information to create a card and to instruct a trusted organisation to produce the card.  The person will also have ways to attach existing cards and devices to their electronic id. These could include MyWay Cards, Driver's Licences, Medicare Cards, Student IDs, and Mobile Phones. The individual drives this process, and can add services if and when they are comfortable doing so.

Getting individuals to take the first step towards simplified identification is one of the key risks that the trial will address. Rather than require the ACT government to drive adoption, we will look towards established community groups who have a proven record of engaging with citizens. The Community Groups will benefit via the sale of branded ID cards and from the simplified connection with individuals,  Individuals will benefit by reducing the number of cards they hold and passwords they have to remember, while providing them with a way to contribute to Community Groups and Charities they choose to support.

Demonstrating the Technology - Connecting identities via WelcomerID

A key technical requirement is that a person can link multiple identities to themselves in a secure and private manner.

WelcomerID allows an individual to create their own electronic ID and to track its use with any organisation that adopts WelcomerID. Any device can be attached to WelcomerID and used by a person and a cooperating organisation as a way of identifying the individual.

WelcomeID is a development of ideas tested and marketed by Edentiti through the successful GreenID product over the past decade. The WelcomerID team will draw on their successful experience with the Edentiti technology.  Welcomer will make WelcomerID available to be used by any other group participating in the Challenge.

The WelcomerID team is experienced in Lean Startup Technologies and building Minimum Viable Products that can be extended. To that end it is proposed that an ID system based around WelcomerID technology be introduced incrementally via trusted Community organisations.  This proof of concept proposal is to take WelcomerID and introduce it via a Community Organisation.  One suggestion is the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC).  The GCC was chosen because the team leader has been an executive member of the GCC for the past decade and the Council is proactive in engaging with the community.  The government application suggested is Canberra Connect's FixMyStreet as it is a direct connection to the community.

Any member of the Gungahlin Community who agrees will be given an electronic GCC ID by connecting to the GCC.  To prove that they are a member of the Gungahlin Community people nominate themselves and use government sources to verify themselves. Their medicare card is checked and they will asked if their address at Medicare is up to date. If they have an ACT driver's licence it will be checked against the ACT government drivers licence database. If they are enrolled to vote they can show they are registered.  If their address is changed they will ask to update their electoral address.  They will also ask another member of the Community to vouch for them.

A local Gungahlin Community Organisation or club who issues ID Cards could accept information directly from a person's electronic GCC ID and produce a card

Gaining uptake by government  

The other major obstacle in introducing any identity technology is to get government bodies to accept, use and deploy the technology.  Government systems are large and complex and any innovation has to be simple, self contained, and easy to deploy.  To that end the proof of concept suggested will prove itself with a government system that currently engages with the community.

It is suggested that Canberra Connect's "Fix my street" install Welcomer so that they can recognise that a person is a member of the Gungahlin Community but not the actual person - unless the person wishes to identify themselves.  If a Fix my street request comes in and is acted on, then the ACT government will pay $10 to an approved Charity or Community Body nominated by the person making the first request.  The ACT government will also pay Welcomer the standard fees for connecting to both the GCC and to Canberra Connect.  This is $1 per year per person connecting.

When a person connects to a Community Organisation they will be asked to check their Medicare address.  If this is different they will be asked to update their address. If a Community Organisation member changes their Medicare address to the ACT then the Community organisation of choice will get $50 from the ACT government.

If a person requests a change to their electoral address then the ACT Electoral office will give $10 to the Community Organisation of choice.

All the prize money funds from the Challenge will go towards purchasing Welcomer Balances which will be used pay the Welcomer fees and which will earn Discounts while unused.

While we have suggested Fix my Street for the proof of concept, this could be changed to any of the systems shown below.  An important point is to show that the system can be implemented incrementally and does not require a critical mass to be successful.  It is important to show it is useful on the small scale as well as the large scale, that it can coexist with existing ID systems, and that it can easily integrate with existing systems.

Milestones for Minimum Viable Product

  1. Work with GCC and Fix my Street to specify the overall system structure and objectives.
  2. Design the interface to the GCC
  3. Set up WelcomerID for the GCC including verification via MyWay, Medicare, and ACT driver's licences.
  4. Design the interface to Fix my Street.
  5. Design the Medicare Change of Address request
  6. Deploy to the Gungahlin Community Council website
  7. Deploy to Fix my Street pages on Canberra Connect
  8. Deploy to existing ID card producing organisation.

Likely Costs and Benefits

The ACT government would own the implementation and could promote its adoption in other jurisdictions and obtain direct benefits from the system adoption.  Welcomer would provide the service and would retain ownership of the IP so it can be used elsewhere.

The Welcomer business model is to provide the connection and personal cloud platform but to get others to develop the applications using the platform. Welcomer is a tenant of Entry29 coworking space.  If extra resources are needed for any projects other members of Entry29 will be the first ones approached to assist. Welcomer will make its technology available to other entrants in this Challenge.

The cost to operate the system is $1 per connect per year per organisation.  This is paid by the ACT government to Welcomer.  The system can be used by commercial organisations and they will pay to access personal data, with the individual's permission, possessed by the government.  Charging can be arranged so the system is either revenue neutral or will generate a surplus for the ACT government.

It is estimated that individuals would pay $10 for a physical IDCard and $20 for a photoID card. These charges would cover the production and issuing of cards. Individuals pay nothing for their electronic ID.

The funds that go to the GCC and other community organisations may be able to be budgeted as assistance from the government to Community Organisations.

Turning the Challenge into a full scale implementation

Full Scale Implementation will be an incremental deployment of the MVP Challenge trial across ACT government agencies and ACT Community and Charity Organisations.  Funding for the Challenge can come from prepayments for future services through Welcomer Balances.  This could make the budgeting for deployment simpler to achieve. The rate of deployment will be determined by the amount of prepayments provided by the government and commercial enterprises. The minimum time for a whole of Canberra deployment is estimated at twelve months but in practice it is expected to take several years.

The costs of issuing and controlling smart cards will be low because the cards are of no use until activated by the user and that can only happen through the person's electronic id which is controlled by the individual themselves. This is a very important practical consideration for a distributed ID card system.

The ID system can be introduced incrementally for all government functions where identity is required. The introduction of the ID system will reduce the effort required of citizens and will increase the efficiency of government functions.  Some of the functions are:

  • The Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages
  • The issuing of driver's licenses
  • Use of the ID to assist the introduction of ehealth
  • Asking people moving to Canberra to change their Medicare address and so increase the GST received by the ACT government
  • The issuing of building approvals
  • The change of property titles
  • The issuing of government licenses
  • Issuing identity cards in ACT Clubs
  • Issuing access cards for Community facilities such as swimming pools
  • Keeping Electoral Roll up to date with address changes
  • Electronic Voting
  • Obtaining feedback from the population and governments being able to engage more easily and in an ordered way with citizens
  • Use for transport and integration with MyWay
  • Use in public libraries
  • Use in schools
  • Use in events such as sporting events and theatre performances.
  • Use in tertiary institutions
  • Use by Actew and other government owned institutions

Extension of the Personal ID Card to the Federal Government and Private Business

The Commonwealth Government has had limited success in introducing a multiuse IDCard. Current efforts on ID systems with the eHealthID card, myGov and with the Document Verification System are not getting the takeup desired. The Commonwealth Government is open to new privacy friendly solutions, particularly with the introduction of the new Privacy Legislation.

Other jurisdictions throughout Australia and the world are searching for better ID systems. At the IDNext Conference in The Hague in November 2013 a mobile based ID system for Barcelona won the prize for best ID innovation for 2013.  Edentiti won the prize in 2011 and it is expected that if this Challenge is accepted the ACT ID system will be a strong contender for Innovation of the year in November 2014.

If this application for the Challenge is accepted it will increase the chances of other jurisdictions adopting this ID system. If this occurs the benefits to the ACT will be considerable as a new ID regime brings many opportunities for other ACT businesses to build on the foundation. This is because Welcomer Technology is a platform on which other applications can be produced by any organisation and Welcomer will look first to Canberra organisations to build those applications.

The ACT government could make the ID system available for use in private industry.  Industry will pay for simpler, more reliable IDs. It is recommended that funds obtained from such sales be distributed to the Community and Charity organisations of choice.

Eligibility for Selection

Welcomer is an ACT based SME with 6 FTE. Five team members for the Challenge are ACT residents and one is a Queanbeyan resident. Two individuals are student interns from University of Canberra.

Welcomer is currently being implemented commercially with development based in Canberra.  The Challenge will be a user of the technology.

Welcomer is a member of Entry29 coworking space.

Text of YouTube Presentation


This presentation shows how a person creates their own ACT Electronic ID. A person only has to do this once and they could do it on any participating Website. Once they have connected to one Website they will be able to reuse what they have entered on other websites.  Different websites may have extra criteria and require extra information but the information is added incrementally.  The system will  allow a person to change their information.

Gone will be the days of a username and password for every different organisation.  A person will be able to connect to another organisation with one or two clicks plus confirmation of their identity with a biometric from a trusted device.  

At the top of this screen for the Gungahlin Community Council the person viewing is unknown and they are invited to connect to the GCC website.  If they were known their name would be shown along with an invitation to be forgotten. 

They click on Connect and are taken to the one time enrolment screen.

Here they enter their name, date of birth and address.  This combination identifies them uniquely.

They are then taken to the next screen where they will provide ways to connect to their ACT ID.  Initially these will be email and/or mobile phone.

They will confirm they control their email address and/or mobile phone by entering codes as shown on this screen. After confirmation they are taken to the next screen where they will show they have a record with different ACT or Federal Government Organisations.

Let us say they choose the ACT drivers licence and let us assume their entered address details are different from the those recorded at the Motor regisitry.  If this is the case they will be asked if they wish to change their address.  If they wish to do this then they will be taken through a process defined by the Motor Registry on changing their address.

This process of choosing existing connections or establishing new ones continues until the organisation from which the connection was made is satisfied that the person is identified.

This process will be a once only process for any ACT ID connected organisation.

Once a person has an electronic ACT ID they can link  it to other existing identifiers they might have such as a My Card.  They will be able to request that the ACT government supply them with an ACT ID card to be used with all participating organisations.

Gone will be the day of a wallet full of cards.