MIL-OSI Australia: 300,000 fraud attempts blocked by Albanese Government’s identity protection reforms

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Source: Australian Executive Government Ministers

New identity protection measures introduced by the Albanese Government in the wake of the Optus data breach have blocked over 300,000 fraudulent attempts to use stolen identity credentials.

The sensitive personal details of 10 million current and former Optus customers were compromised in the September 2022 data breach, including crucial identity documents such as passports and driving licences.

This data breach exposed the fact that after a wasted decade for digital reform, Australia’s laws and protections were woefully inadequate for the digital age.

The Government acted swiftly to pass new laws to increase the maximum penalties for serious or repeated privacy breaches and establishing the Identity Verification Service Credential Protection Register.

The Register protects those whose personal details have been stolen from suffering further harm by preventing their compromised credentials being used as forms of identity.

The legitimate owners of the documents can continue to use them for their primary purpose, such as being able to travel with their Australian passport.

The Albanese Government provided $3.3 million in the 2023 MYEFO to enhance the Register. When finalised, document issuers and other trusted organisations will be able to directly update the Register in near real time.

This rapid response will also help prevent black market sales of stolen identity credentials and disrupt other illegal activities that rely on those stolen credentials, such as scams, money laundering and fraud.

Australians increasingly rely on digital technologies for work, education, health care and daily commercial transactions and to connect with loved ones. But when they are asked to hand over their personal data they expect it will be protected.

In December 2023, Parliament passed legislation to ensure identity verification services are secure and protect the privacy of Australians.

The Government’s response to the landmark review of the Privacy Act commits to progressing reforms to give individuals greater control over their privacy and make entities more accountable for handling information appropriately and keeping it secure.

These reforms complement other critical reforms being progressed by the Albanese Government, including Digital ID, the 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy, the National Strategy for Identity Resilience, and Supporting Responsible AI in Australia.

The Albanese Government is committed to ensuring Australians can benefit from the latest technologies, while knowing their personal information is safe and secure.

For more information on how to protect your identity – visit the IDMatch website.