Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard
CHLÖE SWARBRICK (Green—Auckland Central): E te Māngai tēnā koe, tēnā koutou e te Whare. I guess, just to outline for those who are following along this very fast-paced House this morning, that there are three key things that this legislation seeks to do, or three pillars of it.
The first in establishing the framework is for an opt-in Government accreditation scheme, which is, obviously, as outlined by other speakers, for digital identity providers across all sectors. But, notably, it is opt-in. The second thing that is does is establish a Trust Framework Board, that is the governance group that many others have alluded to, with responsibility for developing the rules for the accreditation scheme and running wider education and potentially guidance campaigns. The third thing that it does is set up that Trust Framework Authority to run the accreditation scheme, which involves approving accreditations, enforcement and compliance, and maintaining the registry.
So while I am stoked to see that we’ve support across the House and consensus on this really important framework, what it’s important to note is that this doesn’t quite go far enough to grapple with some of the challenges of our time, which some of the other speakers have also alluded to.
To that effect, it doesn’t look anywhere near as far entrenching digital rights in the form, kind of, a digital bill of rights format. It doesn’t grapple with the likes of people’s identity online and their digital footprint. It doesn’t grapple with, as we’ve sometimes discussed in this House, the issues around deepfakes and utilisation of people’s face or voice or identity in those places and spaces. This simply sets up a framework of accreditation for those who are utilising and providing services and the accreditation of identity to that effect.
So it’s a great start, but there’s so much more to do in this ecosystem. I just want to say that I agree with the sentiment, as expressed by the Hon Judith Collins, that there is so much more to do here. So frequently we see that this House is just catching up five or 10 years after we’ve seen that technological evolution. So perhaps there’s some work to do in a cross-party manner to that effect.
Throughout the committee of the whole House but also through the select committee stage, we’ve heard that there was a number of submissions from those who perhaps didn’t quite understand the purpose of this legislation. To that effect, we did however see that there were some quite substantive submissions from stakeholders who are really involved in this space. We had InternetNZ and the Council for Civil Liberties suggesting that this authority and this board should not exist within the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) as it currently does. This is something which I alluded to in my second reading speech, and I’m stoked to see that the Minister has actually taken that on board, and what we now have here is the potential in the amended legislation that we’re debating at third reading to have this review after two years to ascertain whether it should be that the digital identity agency becomes its own stand-alone Crown entity, because, of course, it’s currently contained within DIA, and this did raise the spectre of concern for some of those stakeholders. I think when InternetNZ and the Council for Civil Liberties is raising those concerns that they are thing that should be paid due notice to.
We also obviously heard from InternetNZ and the Council for Civil Liberties that there should be broader requirements of consultation and appointments of, for example, people with disability or accessibility needs. We also heard from those who were suggesting that perhaps there should be rainbow representation.
I’d note that, as the Minister herself has outlined, there is, of course, the opportunity, or the discretion, for the Minister to appoint people with those skills or those lived experiences to the board. None the less, by virtue of what’s played out at committee of the whole House and the Greens’ proposals to that effect, there’s no guarantee.
So, once again, what we’re talking about here is a welcome step in the right direction, but it is an opt-in accreditation framework for digital identity. It doesn’t grapple with those far bigger issues of one’s rights online, of one’s digital footprint and the right to be forgotten, for example. So there’s still so much more work to do, and we continue to encourage the form of consensus that we’ve seen break out celebratoriously in the House this morning on this to the future challenges of our time in that technological space and the rights of citizens and Aotearoa New Zealand.