Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How many public-facing authentication systems does the Australian government have?

From CNN Money, “The Welshman, the Walkman, and the salarymen” 1/06/2006

“Rob Wiesenthal, a top deputy to Stringer [CEO of Sony] who is in charge of [Sony worldwide] strategy and M&A, says, "I have 35 Sony devices at home. I have 35 battery chargers. That's all you need to know."

I feel the same way about the Australian government and authentication services which got me wondering, how many usernames and passwords could an Australian citizen have with the government? With the advent of OpenID, Shibboleth and a consumer acceptance of SSO offerings like Facebook Connect and Messenger Connect, how many Australian government agencies are still entrenched in the local authentication mindset?

For the purposes of this exercise, I will limit the scope to
  • Only federal government agencies – no state or local agencies, no wholly owned private companies

  • Only services where a citizen or company can register – no internal only resources that are publically accessible (ie. no extranets), no G2B or G2G services. If there is a publically accessible registration process, it counts.

  • The method of registration doesn’t have to be online – only needs to be available to a citizen or company.

  • Only services which require a username and password – no e-mail subscription lists, surveys.

  • No universities – I want to publish this blog post this century

  • Anything that meets the criteria above counts: doesn’t matter if it’s the ATO web portal or a single Jira instance used by two people.

I started by listing the online services I was aware of. Then I used the Google query "forgotten password" – –

Site Login Register Forgotten password?
Medicare Australia
Medicare Australia – Health Professional Online Services
forgotten password?
Australian JobSearch
Child Support Agency
Australian Securities and Investments Commission
None, call service desk
National Health and Medical Research Council – Research Grants Management System
National Archives of Australia RecordSearch
None – send e-mail to a reference officer
Australian Research Council – Research Management System
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations – Endeavour Awards
Department of Finance and Deregulation – Govdex
Employment & Community Services Network
Resource training generator
Prime Minister’s Department – E-mail subscriptions
Department of Veteran’s Affairs – Secure Services
Federal Register of Legislative Instruments – Lodgement Portal
National Library of Australia
None, call help desk
Medicare Small Business Superannuation Clearing House
Senate – Senate Committee Submissions
Parliament of Australia – ParlInfo Search
Australian Public Service Commission – APS Jobs
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities – Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities – Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities – Australian National Shipwreck Database
Federal Court of Australia – eLodgment
National Transport Commission – Online Portal
Australian Education International – AEI Online
Australian Bureau of Statistics – TableBuilder
Register – need to fax a form
Australian Bureau of Statistics – CensusAtSchool
Fair Work Australia – eFiling
Australian Bureaeu of Statistics – MiCRO
Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia – Online Services
forgotten password?
Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research – The Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research – International Science Linkages
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations – School Services Point
Tax Practitioners Board
Australian Customs and Border Protection Services – Careers and Recruitment
Register – you get an account during the application process
Australian Council for the Arts – Online Services
Australian Government - eSub Online
forgotten password?
Australia War Memorial
Aged Care Australia – my page
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Department of Defence – Defence Science and Technology Organisation – DSTO Publications Online
National Ethics Application Form
National Measurement Institute
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service – Subscriptions
Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation – Publications Online
My Plan Indigenous Opportunities Policy
Council for the Australian Federation – Online Services
Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs – FLoSse Research
Ageing Research Online
Austrade - Marine
Australian Electoral Commission – eReturns
Australian National Maritime Museum – Australian Register of Historic Vessels Forums
Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research – Australia-India Strategic Research Fund
Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency – Online System for Comprehensive Activity Reporting
National Library of Australia – Trove
National Film and Sound Archive
Department of Immigration and Citizenship – Newsroom
Australian Fisheries Management Authority – Quotaboard
Australian Pictorial Thesaurus
forgotten password? – None, contact APT Coordinator
Civil Aviation Safety Authority – DAMP Reporting
forgotten password? – None, contact AOD team
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – METeOR
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority – National Claims and Policies Database
National Health and Medical Research Council – Emergency Care Information Gateway
Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Communities
Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research – DIISR Authentication Gateway
Defence Housing Authority – Online Services
Register – or call DHA
Department of Health and Ageing – NICNAS
forgotten password?
National Archives of Australia – Vrroom – Business Consultation
Lending Rights
Energy Rating – Online Services
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency – Online Services
Register – through online form
Development Assessment Forum – eDA
Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator – REC Registry
Market Based Instruments
Australian Sports Commission – Athlete Training System
Australian Communications and Media Authority – Events
Register – registration upon ticket purchase
Australian Sports Commission – ACEonline
forgotten password? – none, webform to administrator
Sugar Research and Development Corporation
Disability Policy & Research Working Group
Living Greener
Director of National Parks
National Museum of Australia
Department of the Environment and Water Resources
National Film & Sound Archive
forgotten password?
Australian Communications and Media Authority – Number Planning Inquiry Registration
forgotten password?
Australian Law Reform Commission
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations – myUniAssist

I decided to quit after 100. The answer? Probably a few hundred. What does this mean? On the upside, it’s nice to see that the federal government has a lot of online services. On the downside, it’s disappointing that they don’t have an SSO strategy, and doubly disappointing that the government doesn’t think that federated login is necessary (I’m guessing that statement was made to set the success level for very low.)

In the meantime, I’m going to login to my Foursquare account with my Facebook credentials, and signin to my TripIt account with my Google credentials.


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