Letter To The Editor | Disability And Digital Verification Disadvantage


I’d like to raise a government digital issue with you, and your publication.

I identify as someone with a disability, I am unable to drive due to a disability known as “Nystagmus”. This condition cause’s rapid and uncontrollable movement of the eyes.

Due to this visual impairment, I am unable to drive. Beyond the severe economic impact, it also means I am not eligible to hold a driver’s license.

The issue arises with identity verification. Most online services require you to verify identity with a driver’s license, and an additional form of identification such as a Medicare card.

Photo ID cards issued by ServiceNSW/RMS do not equal the same level of identification despite looking identical and being issued by the same authority.

In practice, this means I am unable to open a bank account or obtain a credit check online in Australia. The only workaround is to purchase a passport for identity purposes.

The current price of a passport is $293 + a fee for a photograph and the trouble of accessing a post office to make the order.

As a deep technology enthusiast, I was excited to hear of the digital transformation of ID in NSW, when this system launched the application appeared to support photo ID cards.

I was unable to activate and called ServiceNSW ( on 05/11/2019), which I was informed by the representative that “Photo ID cards can be linked, but will not show up as an ID in the application”

This is not only disappointing but demonstrates that inclusiveness for persons with a disability, experiencing poverty or disadvantage is not a high priority for our government.

Digital NSW has a set of design standards for digital projects in NSW, This includes making applications accessible to those with disability.

However, I believe this policy pertains to the overall design of a digital application such as visual elements and feedback of the UI, and not the overall scope of the project.

I believe this digital gap to be causing a divide in the community for a minority such as those without access to a driver’s license, and that the workaround of a passport is unnecessary and unfair.

Side Note:
ID verification was powered by a system called DVS by the Department of Home Affairs but has recently been replaced by IDMatch

I thank you for your time,

Best Regards
Matt Morris
W: https://matthew.media

Have you experienced disadvantage because of Digital Verification?

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We revived the following reply from the editor:

Hey Matt,

Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention and I’m sorry for everything you’ve been through.

I’ll dig into this more and see if I can get some answers. Thanks again!

End of message.

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