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NSW government leads nationwide push to mitigate identity crime

James Mitchell
29 October 2021 2 minute readShare
identity crime

The NSW government is establishing a new nation-leading identity support unit to minimise the risks associated with identity theft and make it easier for customers to access help in the event their personal information or government proof of identity credentials are stolen or fraudulently obtained.

Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello said IDSupport NSW will support customers and NSW government agencies to prevent identity misuse and in the event of a data breach provide a single point of call support service for citizens.

“This is an escalating problem around the world and NSW will lead the way when it comes to the solution,” Mr Dominello said.

“IDSupport NSW will for the first time provide a single point-of-contact for customers who have had their identity compromised, while ensuring we have a coordinated end-to-end privacy incident response service in NSW government.

“The unit will remove the burden from customers who need to replace identification documents, improving their experience at what we know can be a difficult time.”

IDSupport NSW will work with government agencies to mitigate the risk of stolen or fraudulently obtained personal information and identity credentials being used for identity crimes and replace compromised identity documents where appropriate.

IDSupport NSW will also provide the customer with options for additional support and counselling services.

The unit will work closely with Cyber Security NSW and other government agencies to perform proactive mitigation activities and deliver education and awareness campaigns about personal cyber security and identity resilience.

“Identity crime is becoming increasingly sophisticated which is why improving identity resilience has been a key action in the NSW Identity Strategy,” Mr Dominello said.

IDSupport NSW will work across all NSW government departments and in collaboration with Australian and New Zealand identity and cyber support service, IDCARE, to provide seamless replacement of compromised government proof of identity documents and expert advice to address issues with broader identity misuse.

“Customers will be able to contact one phone number and receive the right guidance, information and support, saving time and frustration during what can be a stressful time,” Mr Dominello said.

IDSupport NSW will complement a framework the Department of Customer Service is currently developing to support state government agencies to identify and mitigate potential privacy issues which may arise from data breaches.

The framework was a key recommendation of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Cyber Security released earlier this year. The Department of Customer Service is currently recruiting for experts to join IDSupport NSW and focus on the future development of the project, which is due to be launched early next year.

NSW Privacy Commissioner Samantha Gavel welcomed the responsiveness of NSW government in addressing the recommendations of the parliamentary inquiry into cyber security.

“Cyber security risks have been elevated in recent years through the development of rapidly evolving technology and techniques by malicious actors and cyber breaches represent an increasing threat to citizens’ personal and identity information,” Ms Gavel said.

“It is important to mitigate and prevent identity theft and provide appropriate support to NSW citizens whose identity information has been compromised. The Privacy Commissioner welcomes these initiatives to assist and support citizens.”

IDCARE CEO Dr David Lacey said he was looking forward to working closely with the NSW government.

“The aim of the partnership with IDSupport NSW is to develop best practice approaches to address identity compromise arising from data breaches. This will complement IDCARE’s tried and tested approach to helping customers within Australia and New Zealand address issues with broader identity misuse,” Dr Lacey said.

In 2020, the NSW government committed a record $240 million to bolster its internal cyber capacity, established a regional Cyber Security Hub in Bathurst, led the work for the first industry standards taskforce and introduced SME targets for ICT expenditure across government.

This year an additional $75 million has been allocated to small agencies for cyber security uplift as part of the Digital Restart Fund.

NSW government leads nationwide push to mitigate identity crime
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James Mitchell

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