[LINK] Is MyGovId going to be Robodebt II?

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Nov 28 11:07:09 AEDT 2022

On 28/11/22 10:25 am, Tom Worthington wrote:
> Australian company directors have until 30 November to register with
> MyGovId. The ABC reported that about a million had not yet done so and
> each risks a fine of $13,000. The registration requires providing
> multiple forms of identification, with matching names. This may prove
> impossible by following the instructions issued. I suggest the
> Australian Government needs to extend the deadline and clarify how IDs
> are matched, to avoid ending up in a Robodebt II situation.
> As an example, the instructions say to enter the name on your Medicare
> card, but my card has the wrong name on it: not just the physical card,
> but the facsimile shown in the Medicare system. This weeks after I phone
> Medicare, and was assured the name had been changed.
> https://blog.tomw.net.au/2022/11/mygovid-is-robodebt-ii.html

As reported a year back, I got lucky.  See posting at bottom.

I avoided the myGov mess, and used the phone option.

>From a DVS comparison viewpoint, my Medicare card and driver's licence
both show 'Roger A Clarke'.  My Aust passport (and my Brit passport,
which 'they' also know all about) shows 'Clarke / Roger Anthony'.

So at least the DVS matching algorithm appears to cope with an ordinary
anglo name with two given names and initialisation of the second given
name.  Maybe not an R. Anthony Clarke, and not Nicholas/Nick, etc.

Mind you, initial-based second-given-name matching was effectively
implemented no later than the early 1970s, e.g. by NSW Dept of Motor
Vehicles.  See this discussion of matching algorithms, written c.1992:


My father was Tony to everyone, ever.  But his name, as far as some
'authorities' were concerned, was Edward Anthony.

My grandfather was Willy Tony on every document his entire life *except*
his birth cert (and hence his passport, if he'd ever had one), where he
discovered, to his amazement, at 65, it said William Anthony.

-------- Forwarded Message --------

Subject: Re: [LINK] Getting a Company Director ID Online was Difficult
But Not Impossible
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2021 17:02:43 +1100
From: Roger Clarke <Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au>
To: link at anu.edu.au <link at anu.edu.au>

On 26/11/21 11:22 am, Tom Worthington wrote:
> As the director of an Australian company, I had until the end of the
> month to register for a new Director ID. This can be done online, by
> phone, or on paper. Given the deadline was approaching, I decided to
> attempt it online. This took about 20 minutes, and there were a few
> difficulties, but it was not too bad.
> https://blog.tomw.net.au/2021/11/getting-company-director-id-was.html

Mid-afternoon Fri 26 Nov (after receiving a reminder from my tax agent),
the phone alternative took 15 mins in the queue (while I kept working),
then 15 mins of conversation, despite their system falling over twice.

Interestingly, the two queries out to DVS worked quickly, and it was the
in-house ATO linkage between applications that's flakey.

(Hmmm, I mis-typed that and got 'fakey' - a Freudian slip maybe?).


Aside:  My wife hasn't received a notice to say she needs to sign up or
be subject to threats of fines.  It's unclear why, because they seem to
have gone for a big bang approach rather than phased implementation.

BTW, a while back I had a look at biometrics as a possible way of
addressing the social ill of phoenixing:

I concluded it was impracticable and offered negative payback.

I wonder what a well-performed business case for a document-based scheme
would look like.

I expect it will be ineffective - assuming that the purpose is to
identify, prosecute and ban phoenix directors, and deter that category
of behaviour.

There are many opportunities for naughty people to get around all forms
of (id)entity authentication.  So this is a registration scheme for
non-naughty people like Tom and me ('Trust us'), and for respectable,
i.e. white-collar, naughty people like, say, professional company

And our entries represent yet more opportunities for naughty people to
get around (id)entity authentication obstacles.

However, the purpose is doubtless to be seen to be doing something,
anything.  So it probably passes muster.  (Security theatre again).

It's not particularly intrusive.  (I avoided being forced into creating
a myGov account, which was the only way offered to do it online.  I had
to say 'no, I'm unable to do it online').  So I treated the 15 mins as a
minor bureaucratic irritant.

Roger Clarke                            mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
T: +61 2 6288 6916   http://www.xamax.com.au  http://www.rogerclarke.com

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law            University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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