ANAO investigating the implementation of myGov

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is looking for public contributions to a performance audit it is conducting into the implementation of the myGov digital services platform by the Department of Human Services (DHS).

To be tabled later this year, the audit will involve an independent and objective assessment of the administration of myGov, which has come in for sustained criticism about usability and stability problems for many of its elements, including early difficulties signing on to the PCEHR – now known as My Health Record – and freezes and drop-outs when trying to lodge tax returns or Centrelink information.

DHS recently admitted to a “staggering” rate of log-on errors with the site, which it attributed to the difficulties of using meaningless but unique numbers (MBUNs) and random passwords.

DHS CIO Garry Sterrenberg told a Senate estimates committee hearing last month that his team had done some “significant engineering” to the myGov platform last October in order to run two separate production lines so volumes can be run across either should it lose capacity.

Fairfax Media has covered problems with Centrelink's online services over the last year, with myGov blamed for many of them. However, DHS secretary Kathryn Campbell said these problems seem to have affected just the Centrelink site rather than myGov, which has problems centred mainly around authentication.

In May 2014, an independent security researcher raised the alarm over a serious cross-site scripting error with myGov, causing Constellation Research analyst Steve Wilson to memorably say that the government was ”sleepwalking into catastrophe with myGov and the PCEHR.

DHS later added two-factor authentication to the system, which means using randomly generated user names and passwords won't be required in future, Mr Sterrenberg said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's pet project, the Digital Transformation Office (DTO), is currently looking at how to use myGov to manage digital accounts for all Australian businesses and a credential for citizens to deal with government services without having to identify themselves each time.

Public contributions to the ANAO audit are expected to be open until September 1.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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