Digital driver's licence scheme prompts privacy concerns

LOCALS are far from convinced by the state government’s push to roll-out digital drivers’ licences in NSW.

An online poll conducted by The Leader found 44 per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t prefer a digital version of their licence accessible through a mobile phone.

While only 38 per cent of voters said the switch would be in-line with the times.

Twelve per cent said it would make no difference, while the remainder added a slew of their own queries about the scheme, with concerns about identity theft and how it would work for different licence categories.

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It came as the state government announced it would put legislation through Parliament to expand its trial of digital licences across in NSW, giving people the chance to opt-in to the scheme.

The proposed changes mean a driver could use their digital licence, accessible on a mobile phone, for proof of identity and proof of age to gain entry into pubs and clubs, as well for roadside police checks.

It’s claimed the new system would  provide additional levels of identity security and increased protection against identity fraud compared to the physical driver licence. 

Drivers who opt-in will still be provided with a physical card, but not required to carry it with them.

Russell Webb, who is chair of the Tamworth Regional Council crime prevention working group, said there needed to be “guarantees around the privacy and security” of the scheme.

“Looking to the future, that’s probably something we’re going to see,” Cr Webb said.

“If the opportunity to trial it becomes statewide, we’ll look forward to trialing it.

“As we move forward, I think a lot of things we had cards for, or paper copies of, will become digitised.”

Cr Webb said the crime working group hadn’t discussed digital identification, but he suggested it could be a topic on the next agenda when the group meets on May 25.

He said the advent of ID scanners used at a number of local pubs in Tamworth had been “very successful” in stemming antisocial behaviour around town.

“There is still antisocial behaviour around,” he said.

“But it’s nothing like it was.”

Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said the scheme would be the first of its kind in Australia.

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