The Federal Government's Digital Transformation Agency is the overall body in charge and the administration of Govpass has been entrusted to the Department of Human Services and the Australian Taxation Office.
Informed sources have told iTWire that neither the DTA, the DHS nor the ATO have any idea as to who would be handling the cloud hosting for Govpass.
Vault, an IT firm that has gained Protected cloud status from the Australian Signals Directorate — which means it can host government data with the highest security classification — came to know that it would no longer be doing the job on 7 August.
This came as a surprise to the company; when iTWire interviewed the chief executive, Rupert Taylor-Price, on 29 May, he spoke at length about the system and said he was both proudly and nervously awaiting the launch of the trial.
Normally, such inquiries are fobbed off to the DTA. That agency was contacted on 8 August to find out if the trial would go ahead as planned and also who would be the cloud host. The DTA stayed mum on the question of who would provide the cloud hosting for Govpass.
The only thing that could be extracted from DTA at that time was: "A pilot of the end-to-end digital Tax File Number application process featuring the Govpass identity provider, myGovID, is expected to begin in October this year.
"The Australian Taxation Office will the be first provider of myGovID. More trials will follow next year."
iTWire has also contacted both the Australian Labor Party's cyber security spokesperson Gai Brodtmann and the Australian Greens' digital spokesperson Jordon Steele-John, for their comments on what appears to be another looming digital disaster.
There has been no response from either party.
Govpass is meant to be a one-time solution for citizens to obtain an ID so that they do not have to repeatedly verify their identity every time they front up to interact with government agencies like Centrelink, the ATO and others.
Yet, the way the government is going about implementing the system is frightening. After a number of IT disasters, the most recent of which was the My Health Record system, one would think that a modicum more of care would be exercised.
But that does not appear to be the case. The approach seems to be that perfected by the former prime minister, Tony Abbott – to crash or crash through.
That would be okay if there was an opt-out for Govpass. There is none, but that does not seem to exercise minds in Canberra with October a couple of months away.