Queenslands “Smart” Drivers Licence and how our Government screwed us with a Billion dollar failure

The story of the drivers licence replacement project that was slated to be a zero cost upgrade but will eventually cost Queensland taxpayers and drivers $1,000,000,000 between 2025 and 2030 started in 2001, announced in 2003 and progressively the costs kept adding and the deployment keep getting pushed out until 2011 when it was finally available with none of the functionality or features promised. How did we end up with the same for such a high cost? Government incompetence.

2003

Queensland driving towards a secure Smart State licence

29th of September 2003 | Media Statements

The first announcement of a new drivers licence requirement is made by Premier Peter Beattie and the Transport Minister Steve Bredhauer.

Apparently according to the Premier Peter Beattie this licence would make the “Smart State” an international leader and keep us all safe from fraud. Meanwhile Estonia became the international leader in smart card licences, didn’t feel the need to announce it and our state government committed fraud to the tune of $1,000,000,000 by extorting their taxpayers excessively for the new smart dumb licence.

The proposed new licence would make the Smart State an international leader in secure smart card licences, and give us an edge in the fight against fraud.

The new licence would have a built-in computer chip to securely store and process information that could be accessed only by a special reader.

“It would securely store personal details, plus a photo and signature, and would have the capacity to store emergency contact information.

Premier Peter Beattie | 29th of September 2003

One of the claims was that this would cost around $60 million if we replaced existing systems in the Transport Department offices however if they enter into a public private partnership the system may cost us the same as the current system.

Depending on the private sector’s interest in a public private partnership, the new system may involve no cost to Queensland taxpayers.

Transport Minister Steve Bredhauer | 30th of September 2003

The new cards would offer us the follow advantages

  • Reduce identity fraud
  • Allow you to keep emergency contact details on the card (all police cars would be fitted out with readers)
  • Remove the need for address on the licence (all businesses that need the address would have to have card readers to read the address for example at the time video stores, car rentals etc)
  • Allow business to be transacted online with the Transport Department
  • Public transport payment card
  • Used for vending machine and small transactions in stores

Any attempt to crack the ‘keys’ of this type of smart card technology would be extremely expensive. A would-be hacker would need to invest in several millions of dollars in technology just to crack one card, and this could not be achieved without destruction of the particular card itself.

Queensland Government | 29th of September 2003 | Security Safeguards attachment to press release

In the consultation paper that was released in 2003 and which is no longer available online the following features were promoted.

Licence holders would be able to check their own licensing information stored on the smartcard using a self serve terminal or if they have a reader attached to their home computer.

If licensing information such as address and expiry date were to be stored on the chip, in the future, licence holders would be able to give permission (for example, by using their own PIN {Personal Identification Number}) for other organisations such as car hire companies to access it.

Queensland Police Service could use readers containing special access software to access driver licensing and emergency contact information.

Queensland Government Consultation Paper for Smart Licence | 2003

The quotes from the consultation paper are available on the submission made by the EFA in response to the Queensland Smart Card Driver Licence Proposal. I’m not going to duplicate they work that they have done as their submission covers the reasons why the smart card on the new licence is not secure and what the Queensland Government promised was never going to be delivered.

There was no requirement for a smart card to be used, all they needed was a more secure way of creating the cards instead of using laminated cards that were being stolen from Transport Department offices by thieves jumping the counter, taking a whole tray of cards and laminate and walking out. Of course we could have secured the card making equipment but this would have been too logical. These devices were available in 2003 and are much more common now, a small printer creates the cards and prints them on the spot but I digress as this is the story of the billion dollar smart card that has no smarts!

2004

Market Sounding for New Drivers Licence

20th of May 2004 | Media Statements

The Minister for Transport & Main Roads, The Honourable Paul Lucas is sounding out the market for new ways to make money with the new drivers licence and announced three weeks submission period from businesses wanting to use outdated technology.

The new licence could offer a range of potential features, including storing emergency contact details on an electronic chip on the licence, or using the chip to let licence holders carry out secure online transactions with government agencies.

The chip may also let licence holders receive credit card-linked loyalty or reward points for buying low-cost goods and services. These may include buying public transport or parking tickets, or goods from vending machines by using money stored on the smartcard.

But these are ideas only – this market sounding is all about hearing from the private sector what it thinks are potential commercial applications for the proposed licence.

Mr Lucas said the new smartcard licence provided a chance for the Smart State to be a leader in using innovative technology for a new generation of driver licensing.

I expect many Queenslanders will find the use of optional extras such as credit cards and cash cards to the smartcard licence very convenient, but that will be entirely a matter for them, no ifs and no buts

The market sounding will help Queensland Transport prepare the final business case by identifying private sector interest in providing commercial services on the driver licence proposal.

An initial market sounding study, conducted in 2001 prior to this licence proposal, found it was both a feasible and manageable project.

This second round will confirm the feasibility of our approach to this project’s development, as well as its overall viability.

Minister for Transport & Main Roads, The Honourable Paul Lucas | 20th of May 2004

2005

A change in direction

The Smart Cards will no longer be able to used for shopping and vending machines! But Premier Peter Beattie sold this as one of the major features.

Smartcard licences to be issued to Queensland drivers will not be multifunction transaction cards. The card would be confined to its main purpose of licensing drivers.

Transport Minister Paul Lucas | January 2005

Smart Licence on the Cards

29th of December 2005 | Media Statement

The way driver’s licences are currently made and the way information is stored needs to be brought into the new digital age.

Queensland is the Smart State, and we will have a smarter licensing product in place in 2008.

Licence holders will be able to opt to have some of their personal information, such as their address, moved from the display panel and put instead on the microchip, which the old cards don’t allow.

Owners of the new licence will set a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) to the card to help protect their privacy.

Premier & Treasurer, The Honourable Peter Beattie | 29th of December 2005

Clearly not that smart Peter given that it was 2011 before the cards were being rolled out at a cost many times higher that delivers none of the benefits you promised.

2006

The next announcement from the Queensland Government came on the 10th of August 2006 and they had dropped the idea to continue to produce the cards themselves and have gone straight to letting the private sector develop a solution that no doubt will cost us a fortune.

It’s a quantum leap in the security and integrity of licence information

They’ll be publicly released next week. The tender will invite expressions of interest from the private sector for planning, design, integration, financing, delivery, management and maintenance of the drivers licence.

The proposal will be developed under Public Private Partnerships guidelines in accordance with State Government policies.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Paul Lucas | 10th of August 2006

2007

2008

The Shortlist

18th of January 2008 | Media Statement

Four years after being announced the Queensland Government finally announced on the 18th of January 2007 a shortlist of consortia. The companies involved would develop proposals for selection later in 2007 with a pilot deployment in 2008 and a full deployment in 2009.
(this was delayed by another two years before this occurred)

The new licence will feature an embedded microchip, and this new technology will feature advanced cryptography, making the licence extremely difficult to inappropriately access or alter.

This is about getting the right people to develop the most secure licence in Australia, and achieving value for money

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Paul Lucas | 18th of January 2007
  • EDS, consisting of Placard, Viisage, Sagem Australasia, Grabba International, ActivIdentity Australia and Sun Microsystems Australia;
  • Fujitsu Australia, consisting of Giesecke and Devrient Australasia;
  • Australia Post, consisting of Datacard South Pacific, Oberthur Card Systems Australia, Ingenico International (Pacific) and ActivIdentity Australia; and
  • Leigh Mardon, consisting of LM Gemplus, Gemalto, Grabba International and Hewlett Packard Australia.

QLD smart licence to go national

13th of June 2008 | Computerworld

Expectations that Queensland’s emerging smart card driver licence will become a national model could see card readers in every Australian business, home, club and local video shop.

The licence, which uses facial recognition, has been under development by Queensland Transport for three years, and aims to reduce fraud, simplify card issuing and cut red tape.

Other states in Australia are developing similar smart-card licensing, though none are as advanced as the New Queensland Driver Licence (NQDL) project.

Queensland Transport land transport and safety executive director Judy Oswin said the card will be the first in Australia to include facial recognition and will remove address details from the face of the licence.

It is a huge change that people are going to have to get used to.

There is an awful amount of information that is relied upon on the face of the driver licence.

Queensland Transport land transport and safety executive director Judy Oswin

Registered clubs, car hire companies and other government agencies including Australia Post will have access to user data embedded in the licence and stored in government databases for validation of identity, address, and whether the person is allowed to drive.

Such validation will require users to swipe their licence in a smart card reader and enter a pin number to allow the organisation to obtain basic licence details and conditions.

Oswin said other ancillary uses, such as automatic transfer of vehicle registration, will be integrated into the chip as the project develops.

“We need to focus on delivering the project but we are open to incorporating [other uses],” she said.

It will be the first time that images and written signatures are stored in a central repository for the Queensland drivers licence.

The NQDL project is pioneering smart card technology in the country, and has written components of the 24727 ISO standard which is yet to be completed.

Austroads, the association of Australian and New Zealand road transport and traffic authorities, is expected to promote the same standards used by the NQDL to ensure interoperability between states.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates used in the Queensland licence are expected to be adopted by all states.

Oswin said police will be able to use the same smart card readers to check licence conditions and confirm identity if uniformed PKI certificates are used.

Lax interoperability between state licencing will damage everything from fraud prevention, to law enforcement and future smart card initiatives.

Users will be able to update personal information over the Internet, and possibly in the future through a series of public smart card reader terminals.

Data on the smart card will be updated whenever it is placed in a reader, and users will be supplied with record of access.

The project began the “implementation phase” at the start of last year, and its expected to commence rolling out from late 2009.

New Drivers Licence a Step Closer

13th of November 2008 | Media Statement

The Transport Minister John Mickel on the claimed to have introduced legislation to Parliament for the new drivers licence.

We are getting on with the job and advancing our Towards Q2 strategy – the new licence will be smart and secure.

Fake driver licences can be used to commit a wide range of crimes, such as money laundering, creating false identities and identity theft

…motorist’s address will not be shown. Instead it will be stored electronically on the smart chip.

This new feature is aimed at personal safety and protection of property .

Think of it this way – does your ATM card show your address ? Your credit card ? Your Medicare card ?

No – none of these display your home address. From now on, if a person has lost or had their handbag or wallet stolen, the chance of the driver’s licence being used to break into their house is significantly decreased.

Transport Minister John Micke | 13th of November 2008

These are nothing but outright false statements, they knew about the issues of taking the address off the drivers licence but they continue to put this forward as one of the major selling points knowing that it would never occur and why compare a credit card or ATM card to a drivers licence, they are not even remotely the same and only an idiot would make these comparisions.

Next they listed three key features, none of which were implemented. This was under 2 years out from full deployment and and 5 years from when they were told that what they wanted to to do with the card was not possible.

  • Digital photographs will be able to be accessed by authorised officers for licensing transactions such as licence issue and renewal and licence-related enforcement. Police access to digital photographs outside of transport-related enforcement and licensing will require a judicial order.
  • Queensland Police and transport inspectors will have handheld smartcard readers to access the information stored on the chip.
  • A cardholder may also provide access to third parties by inserting the licence into a smartcard reader, and entering their PIN to authorise information to be read from the chip, such as their address.

2009

2009/2010 Licence Costs

  • Five years | $73.30

Unisys scores five-year QLD digital drivers’ licence deal

23rd of April 2009 | ITnews

Queensland Transport will progressively replace three million laminated drivers’ licences with smartcards that use facial recognition technology supplied by Unisys.

The Department said today it has awarded a five-year contract to Unisys Australia, which will act as prime contractor and primary implementation partner for facial image capture, facial image recognition, and case management aspects of the project.

The smartcard licences will be introduced in a rolling program as existing laminated licences expire and are renewed.

The process is expected to take approximately five years.

“We have used the laminated licence design in Queensland for over 20 years,” said Judy Oswin, Department of Land, Transport and Safety executive director.

“The new digital licence will deliver a more secure form of driver licence documentation for Queenslanders as it is harder to forge or alter.

“As a result it will help reduce the risk of identity theft to Queensland licence holders and give them greater confidence that their personal licence information is being kept secure.”

The Unisys solution includes approximately 370 purpose-built image capture devices to take biometric facial images that are subsequently embedded into the smartcard chip.

The front counter devices will be used at most Queensland Transport customer service centres, some Queensland Government Agent Program (QGAP) offices and police stations in rural and remote areas.

Unisys said it will train Queensland Transport staff in facial image capture operation to ensure high quality, secure and consistent image capture in line with ISO standards.

Unisys will also provide Cognitec facial image recognition software to match the biometric facial image against existing images in the driver licence database, “a critical component to identify if individuals hold multiple cards in different names, or attempt to obtain cards using forged or stolen identity documents.”

Unisys partner Daon will provide biometric enrolment technology and biometric middleware software.

Where a discrepancy needs further investigation, the Unisys identification and credentialing framework LEIDA (Library of eID Artefacts software) will act as a backbone case management system to connect all the elements of the Queensland Transport solution together.

For instance, where an applicant’s photo matches a photo under a different name in the system it will trigger an alert, provide an immediate side-by-side comparison, and track ongoing case management if further investigation is required.

Queensland Transport also announced that Leigh Mardon Australia would design the customer interface devices to provide for the capture of a cardholder’s signature image, PIN and other secure information.

QLD to get smart licences next year

23rd of April 2009 | Computerworld

Queensland Transport has inked a five-year deal with Unisys to design and build a facial recognition and biometric matching platform for the state’s smartcard drivers’ licence.

Unisys would not reveal the value of the deal.

Some three million laminated drivers’ licence will be gradually replaced from mid-next year with the smartcards, which will also provide access to multiple government services.

Registered clubs, car hire companies and other government agencies including Australia Post will have access to user data embedded in the licence and stored in government databases for validation of identity, address, and whether the person is allowed to drive. The cards will also provide for the automatic transfer of vehicle registration

Unisys will design some 370 image capture devices to be used in QLD Transport customer service centres, police stations and other government agencies. It will also be responsible for cross-checking new photographs with database records to detect fraud using biometric software.

QLD Transport land and safety director Judy Oswin said the smartcards will reduce the level fraud plaguing the existing laminated drivers licence.

“We have used the laminated licence design in QLD for over 20 years. The new digital licence will deliver a more secure form of driver licence documentation for Queenslanders as it is harder to forge or alter,” Oswin said in a statement.

“As a result it will help reduce the risk of identity theft to QLD licence holders and give them greater confidence that their personal licence information is being kept secure.

“It will also enable QLD Transport to deliver services in a more convenient manner as licence holders will be able to use a card reader or the [government] Web site to view, update and transact on their licence and registration themselves,” she said.

Overarching software , dubbed the Library of eID Artefacts, will monitor all components of the smartcard system to assist fraud investigations and trigger alerts if an individual is holding drivers licences under false names.

Some 10,000 handheld smartcard readers will be deployed across the state, which may include public terminals, homes, businesses, and pubs and clubs.

The licences are expected to cost about $20.

Function-creep is one of the biggest concerns with the New Queensland Drivers’ Licence (NQDL) which has been in planning and development since 2003. The Australian Law Reform Commission said allowing additional agencies to access smartcard data creates significant privacy risks because of the large amount of personal data stored on the cards.

While the QLD card will shun wireless connectivity and require direct contact with readers, a German group last year cracked the popular Mifare Classic Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card by removing its chip and cutting layers away. The encryption algorithm was discovered after researchers stripped away layers and photographed the connections using a microscope.

Unisys deployed a similar smartcard for Malaysia, the MyKad identity card, which the company claims is the world’s first multi-application smartcard.

Gemalto to provide a new Queensland Driver Licence in Australia

7th of July 2009 | Gemalto

Gemalto’s secure Sealys* eDriver Licence solution selected by Department of Transport and Main Roads in partnership with Prime Contractor Placard Pty

Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Brisbane, Australia, July 7, 2009 – Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO), the world leader in digital security announces that it will together with Prime Contractor Placard Pty Ltd provide several million Sealys e​lectronic driving licences to the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland, Australia over a five year period with implementation commencing in 2010.

Currently, just over 3 million drivers in Queensland hold laminated driver licences on which personal data is printed. The new cards will significantly improve the security and privacy of personal data by securely storing driver information electronically. This will make the new licence difficult to copy and counterfeit and thereby minimizes the potential for identity theft.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads also plans to use this secure technology for the Adult Proof of Age, Marine Licence Indicator and Industry Authority cards.

The Department’s Land Transport and Safety Executive Director Judy Oswin says moving to this technology will place Queensland at the forefront of delivering sophisticated, and secure technology, bringing together a range of applications that will ensure a state of the art product is delivered.

The smartcard products will be a substantial leap forward in security over our existing laminated product. This is because of the strong level of authentication built into the physical product, as well as the business processes and systems that sit behind it; we will also be able to enhance electronic service delivery options for licence holders.”

“Queensland is pleased to be leading the first smartcard driver licence in Australia and believe that our ground breaking work will provide a sound basis for other states to build on, should they also decide to take on smartcard technology for their licence products,” Ms Oswin said.

Tan Teck Lee, President, Gemalto Asia added, “We are honored to be able to play a part in introducing leading security technology into driver licences issued by The Department of Transport and Main Roads. Gemalto is recognized as a leader in digital solutions boosting operational efficiency and increase security.”

Gemalto’s Sealys eDriver Licence solution is compliant with ISO 24727 standard and the Smartcard Framework and Smartcard Licence Interoperability Protocol (SLIP), which is the standard referenced to by the drivers licence project.

About Gemalto

Gemalto (Euronext NL 0000400653 GTO) is the world leader in digital secur​ity with 2008 annual revenues of €1.68 billion, and 10,000 employees operating out of 75 offices, research and service centers in 40 countries.

Gemalto is at the heart of our evolving digital society. The freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank, entertain, and work—anytime, anywhere—has become an integral part of what people want and expect, in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and secure.

Gemalto delivers on the growing demands of billions of people worldwide for mobile connectivity, identity and data protection, credit card safety, health and transportation services, e-government and national security. We do this by supplying to governments, wireless operators, banks and enterprises a wide range of secure personal devices, such as subscriber identification modules (SIM) in mobile phones, smart banking cards, smart card access badges, electronic passports, and USB tokens for online identity protection. To complete the solution we also provide software, systems and services to help our customers achieve their goals.

As the use of Gemalto’s software and secure devices increases with the number of people interacting in the digital and wireless world, the company is poised to thrive over the coming years.

For more information please visit www.gemalto.com.

About Placard

Placard is a wholly owned Australian company, which has been in existence since 1987 as a manufacturer of plastic cards. Since then, Placard has continued to expand, and now provides comprehensive card program management products to over 500 clients and employs in excess of 170 staff. Placard is a well established, quality, total card solutions provider and has a reputation of meeting its commitments to its clients and consistently achieves service levels beyond its clients’ expectations.

Placard is the only secure card manufacturer in Australia and is recognised as the market leader in the country with a substantial card personalisation and fulfilment bureau.

Placard’s secure manufacturing and bureau facilities are both Visa and MasterCard accredited to the highest level including EMV accreditation.

Placard’s core competencies lie in the design, printing, manufacture, personalisation and mailing of ISO Standard secure and non secure plastic cards with Bureau services encompassing the latest Visa and MasterCard EMV standards for embossing, magnetic stripe encoding, indent printing, thermal print flat graphics, high quality Drop on Demand personalisation, laser printing processes and intelligent matching & mailing services.

For more information, please visit www.placard.com.au or call + 61 3 9722 5200 .

Contract awarded for new Driver Licence

July 2009 | A new Drive Licence for Queensland, Australia

In July 2009, Gemalto announced that it will together with Prime Contractor Placard Pty Ltd provide several million electronic driving licences to the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland, Australia over a five year period with implementation commencing in 2010.

Currently, just over 3 million drivers in Queensland hold laminated driver licences on which personal data is printed. The new cards will significantly improve the security and privacy of personal data by securely storing driver information electronically. This will make the new licence difficult to copy and counterfeit and thereby minimizes the potential for identity theft.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads also plans to use this secure technology for the Adult Proof of Age, Marine Licence Indicator and Industry Authority cards.

Gemalto’s eDriver Licence solution is compliant with ISO 24727 standard and the Smartcard Framework and Smartcard Licence Interoperability Protocol (SLIP), which is the standard referenced to by the drivers licence project.


2010

July 2010 to June 2011 Licence Costs

  • One year | $37.35
  • Two years | $52.05
  • Five years | $96.05

Queensland’s new driver licence

12th of May 2010 | Media Statement

The Minister for Transport, The Honourable Rachel Nolan declared that Queensland will soon have the most secure drivers licence system in Australia!

  • Biometric imaging is used rather than the old Polaroid photo. What that means is that when your photo is taken at the CSC or police station, a 16 point computer image of your face is taken and stored on the computer. That makes it virtually impossible for someone else to come along later and try to get a fake licence in your name.
  • A number of visual security features including hologram, special inks, a watermark and shadowing.
  • A computer chip which stores your personal information, security PIN and shared secrets

Still talk of the computer chip with personal information, PIN and shared secrets which never eventuated so even up until the launch of the licence they were still misleading the public.

Providing the most secure licensing system in the country comes at a cost but the price of a Queensland licence will still compare favourably to other major Australian states.

The current cost of a five-year licence in Queensland is $73.30.

The new Queensland driver licence will initially cost $96.05 for five years, equal to around 37 cents per week.

Taking into account CPI and the cost of implementing the new system a new five-year licence in 2014-15 will cost $152.50 or around 58 cents a week.

Next financial year the most secure licence in the country will still be cheaper than licences in four other states.

And even in five years time, our licence will cost about the same as what drivers in NSW, South Australia and the ACT pay right now (NSW $151, ACT $145, SA $150).

Each time they renew their licence, facial image recognition technology will ensure they are who they claim to be.

Minister for Transport, The Honourable Rachel Nolan | 22nd of May 2010

The Government will undertake a carefully planned roll out of the new licensing system and Department of Transport and Main Roads staff will take part in an initial trial in August.

Following that Toowoomba residents, given the city’s mix of demographics and licence products, will be able to renew licences under the new system later in the year.


The last sentence is an outright lie, they had been promoting that it can be renewed online at this point so either the Minister for Transport was telling porkies or they knew nothing about their portfolio.

Justifying the increases by making it a price per week is beyond stupid and why stop there who not publicise the registration fees as a price per day!


Driver’s licences to double in price

12th of May 2010 | Brisbane Times

The price of Queensland driver’s licences is set to more than double as the state embraces new chip technology.

The new licences, embedded with a computer chip, will be introduced in Toowoomba before the end of this year, before becoming available across the state by the end of 2011.

Special biometric imaging will replace the current polaroid photo on laminated licences.

“The laminate driver’s licences currently in use across Queensland have been in existence for almost 25 years and are in need of a major overhaul,” Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said.

The price of a new five-year licence will initially rise from $73.30 to $96.05, before escalating again to $152.50 in 2014, an overall increase of 108 per cent.

The cost will be even greater for truck drivers who will need a separate heavy vehicle licence under the new system.

The price increase is the latest hit for the state’s drivers, after hefty registration cost increases came into effect last year, while the government scrapped the fuel subsidy.

brisbanetimes.com.au reported last year at how the new licence would begin rolling out in 2010.

RACQ spokesman Gary Fites said the price hike was justified given the new security for motorists.

”We can see a more justifiable price rise in this given for what is essentially for a new and improved product compared with far less justification for the toll increases and the sorts of registration increases we’ve seen,” Mr Fites said.

”This is something people pay for every five years. It’s not hitting them every year, and it’s not hitting them every time they fill up at the [bowser].

”We would have more concern if we were paying that sort of increase for essentially the same product.”

The biometric cameras needed in Queensland Transport offices and police stations will cost the state government $10,000 each to install and operate.

Smart licences have been six years in the planning and it is expected to take a further five before the rollout is complete.

Drivers will not be forced to switch to the new licences but will instead wait until their old ones expire.

Cards will still display traditional licencing information such as the licence number, name, date of birth, gender and height, address, class of licence and expiry date but the on-board microchip can be programmed with further data.

The chip will hold digital versions of the displayed information as well as digital certificates to prove the authenticity of the card as well as a “record of access” to show who has accessed information contained on the chip.

Security features on the new cards include facial recognition technology which links the card to an image, signature storage, high tech encryption and a PIN code which the cardholder must enter to allow authorities access to the information stored on the card.

Authorities have said only Queensland and interstate police, transport compliance officers and driver licensing authorities will be able to access information stored on the chip.

“Even police will need a court order to access the information,” Ms Nolan said.

Drivers will have a 16-point hologram taken of their face, which will be stored in a central information system.

“That makes it virtually impossible for someone else to come along later and try to get a fake licence in your name,” the minister said.

Ms Nolan said the new look licences were designed to protect the tens of thousands of victims of personal identity fraud in Queensland each year.


RACQ spokesman Gary Fites said the price hike was justified given the new security for motorists.

”We can see a more justifiable price rise in this given for what is essentially for a new and improved product compared with far less justification for the toll increases and the sorts of registration increases we’ve seen,” Mr Fites said.

”This is something people pay for every five years. It’s not hitting them every year, and it’s not hitting them every time they fill up at the [bowser].

”We would have more concern if we were paying that sort of increase for essentially the same product.”

The price hike is justified when they didn’t deliver on any of the promises! This is a new and improved product in what way?

What about those who renew every year? It makes no difference if you choose one, two, three, four or five years as you are still paying an excessive amount for something that costs under $10 in Europe for 5-10 years and that offers more security!

The RACQ said the same in 2014 so clearly they have an agenda to push that isn’t looking after the motorists of Queensland.

Security features on the new cards include facial recognition technology which links the card to an image, signature storage, high tech encryption and a PIN code which the cardholder must enter to allow authorities access to the information stored on the card.

Where is this PIN code they talk about? Seems that the government has failed to deliver.

Ms Nolan said the new look licences were designed to protect the tens of thousands of victims of personal identity fraud in Queensland each year.

Identity fraud continues to increase and looking at the statistics the new drivers licence has done nothing to abate that. Another failure.

“That makes it virtually impossible for someone else to come along later and try to get a fake licence in your name,” the minister said.

Except for the casual staff member who was able to issue 60 driver licences to people that already had licences under different names and the system that cost hundreds of millions did nothing to detect these duplicates.


New driver licence makes debut in Toowoomba

5th of November 2010 | Media Statement

The most secure driver licence system in Australia will make its public debut in Toowoomba today.

It’s a big day as we start to move from old laminated licences to delivering the most secure driver licence system in the country

When Queenslanders apply for their new licence a digital photograph will be taken and stored centrally.

Licences will also be mailed to customers within two weeks rather than being available on the spot.

“It’s just like getting your passport or a credit card. Licences will be produced at a central location meaning greater identity security and protection,” she said.

“It’s a big change but it will make Queensland licences the most secure in Australia – helping in the fight against fraud and identity theft.”

Ms Nolan said the new Queensland driver licence will initially cost $96.05 for five years, equal to around 37 cents per week.

Taking into account CPI and the cost of implementing the new system a new five-year licence in 2014-15 will cost $152.50 or around 58 cents a week – comparable to the current cost of licences in other states.

2011

2012

July 2012 to June 2013 Licence Costs

A 63 per cent increase over July 2010 to June 2011 cost

  • One year | $64.20
  • Two years | $89.50
  • Five years | $143.75

2013

Queensland drivers hit with licence increases

29th of May 2013 | CourierMail

QUEENSLAND motorists are being slugged with increases of up to 71 per cent for new smartcard driver’s licences since their rollout less than three years ago.

The cost of the new licences, which drivers can sign up for from one to five years, has risen by an average of 63 per cent since they were introduced in late 2010.

About half of the state’s 3.4 million registered drivers have already bought the new plastic credit-card sized licences but about 1.69 million drivers are still using the old laminate cards.

The cost of a one-year smartcard licence climbed by 71 per cent from $37.35 in 2010-11 to $64.20 in 2012-13.

The cost of a two-year smartcard licence also rose by 71 per cent from $52.05 to $89.50 in the same period.

Five-year smartcard licences rose by 49 per cent from $96.05 in 2010-11 to $143.75 in 2012-13.

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Scott Emerson blamed the hefty increases on the former Labor government.

“The increase to the cost of a driver’s licence reflects the cost of producing the new card which was set under the previous government,” she said.

“Unfortunately this is another example of Labor’s reckless spending with no consideration for the impact it would have on taxpayers.”

The cost to roll out the new Queensland licensing system was about $139 million and it’s hoped all drivers will have migrated to the new technology by the end of 2017.

The Newman Government is looking at ways to reduce the data added to the chip and help make it smaller and cheaper which would help reduce the computer systems needed to manage the licences and cut costs.

The cards have a number of visual and technological security features designed to make it easier to identify forgeries.

Queensland Council of Social Service director Mark Henley said the rising costs to smartcard licences was yet another increasing cost for Queenslanders.

“I think it’s really important that the Government has a holistic view of any of the prices or costs that they passed on to the public with goods or services they provide such a licence,” he said.

“They need to have a line of sight of what the overall impact is for people.

“One of the biggest problems people face is managing the increasing costs across a variety of services and this is another increase in cost people have to wear.”

RACQ executive manager of public policy Michael Roth said the licence increases were “steep” but their implementation of the system was “a good decision.”

The option to renew laminated licences was phased out in October.

Drivers cannot upgrade from a laminated card to a smartcard online, it must be completed at a Department of Transport office.

Smartcard users are able to renew their cards electronically.


The Newman Government is looking at ways to reduce the data added to the chip and help make it smaller and cheaper which would help reduce the computer systems needed to manage the licences and cut costs.

Seriously?!? The Minister believes that the amount of data written to a tiny amount of memory has anything to with the cost of the cards and why did they achieve nothing in relation to the cost of the drivers licence in their time in government? Once again a Minister criticises the previous government, promises to reduce costs but does nothing.

The card already has none of the features that were promised so what’s actually stored on the card? The police don’t have readers so why bother putting anything on the card as the chip is not used! There’s your cost saving, replace the chip card with a standard card like they should have used in the first place but of course as you’ll find out further down the cost of the card is not the issue. The government is using this card as an excuse to tax us through yet another fee that doesn’t reflect the cost of providing the service.

RACQ executive manager of public policy Michael Roth said the licence increases were “steep” but their implementation of the system was “a good decision.”

Another failure from the RACQ who are totally out of touch with the motorists they claim to represent. They continue to turn themselves into a large corporation that exits only to make huge profits.

How can a card that does nothing that it was claimed to do be a good decision?

The cost to roll out the new Queensland licensing system was about $139 million and it’s hoped all drivers will have migrated to the new technology by the end of 2017.

This new technology of course isn’t actually being used so what did we get for $139 million? In 2003 they quoted the price as $60 million for an government roll out and a likely no cost roll out if they enter into a public/private partnership like they did so how did the prices increase by $139 million or more and why is no-one held accountable for this excessive waste of taxpayer funds?

2014

Fake Queensland drivers’ licences being investigated by crime commission amid terror identity fears

22nd of September 2014 | Cairns Post

A CRIME and Corruption Commission investigation is underway into a major fraud involving Queensland drivers’ licences, that may have helped would-be terrorists develop new identities.

A casual employee of Transport and Main Roads — who News Corp Australia understands had her employment terminated in December — is at the centre of the investigation which has been kept quiet by the department and the CCC.

It is alleged she issued upwards of 60 fraudulent licences in return for payment of $1000 each.

Sources within the department have revealed the employee allegedly “overrode” the Transport Integrated Customer Access (TICA) system to issue the licences.

The cards themselves were uncompromised.

A CCC spokesman confirmed an investigation was underway and it was “ongoing”.

“The Department of Transport and Main Roads is fully cooperating and assisting the CCC,” said the spokesman.

Staff who worked with the woman are among those who have been interviewed over the alleged fraud.

University of Queensland national security expert Professor Brian Lovell said a fake drivers licence would be considered a valuable commodity for people with criminal intent.

“If you look at the 9-11 attackers, there were 19 of them, and they had 63 drivers’ licences between them,” said Prof Lovell.

“A fake driver’s licence gives you a false identity so you can hide your trail.”

He said someone with a fake driver’s licence in Australia could easily rent a three-tonne truck and pack it with explosives.

“The Queensland licensing system is very, very strong (security wise) but if you’ve got someone on the inside issuing licences to people who have bad agendas, that’s of grave concern,” Prof Lovell said.

Queensland drivers’ licences underwent a major overhaul in late 2010 to increase their security and prevent fraud.

As well as being embedded with a computer chip, the licences feature holograms and special ink to make them almost impossible to replicate.

Information posted on the TMR website states the former laminated licence “became increasingly vulnerable to tampering and fraud and needed to be replaced with more secure technology”.

Their introduction resulted in a doubling of the price for a five-year licence from $75 to $154.

Motorists generally have to wait up to two weeks for a new licence while they are made by Victorian company Placard and returned to Queensland.

The “unsmiling” images featured on the licences have been unpopular with motorists but lauded by experts as a key to reducing crime, and even terrorism.

The CCC refused to say what the fraudulently issued licences were being used for, or if they had been recovered by the crime-fighting agency.

It is also unknown what changes, if any, have been implemented at TMR to prevent the issue of licences without proper authorisation.

A department spokesman said they were unable to comment because it was the subject of an ongoing investigation by the CCC.


So much for the facial recognition system that was supposed to prevent people getting multiple drivers licences in different names. Why did we spend so many hundreds of millions for systems that don’t do what they claim?

2015

2016

2017

July 2017 to June 2018 drivers licence cost

  • One year licence | $76.25
  • Two year licence | $106.30
  • Three year licence | $131.55
  • Four year licence | $152.20
  • Five year licence | $170.75

2018

July 2018 to June 2019 drivers licence cost

  • One year licence | $78.90
  • Two year licence | $110.00
  • Three year licence | $136.15
  • Four year licence | $157.55
  • Five year licence | $176.75

Comparison of cards

Italy

Gemalto the same company that produces the card used in Queensland has a more advanced contactless version of the card used in Italy as a national ID card. The cost of this card is 16.79 Euros with an average cost of 23 Euros because some areas charge an administrative fee.

The contactless electronic identity card is a polycarbonate document including full name, date and place of birth, fiscal number, residence and citizenship, code of the city of issuance, issuance and expiration dates, authentication certificate, fingerprints and a digital version of the photo.

It appears the card has no expiry date so assuming 10 years this is AUD $30 or $3 per year but the Queensland Government charge us an extra $15 per year on top of the savings they are making by not having to produce their own cards inhouse.

The Rest of Europe

Costs vary from country to country but looking at countries with similar cards (these are not driver licences but are cards with the same or more capabilities inbuilt for which we are being charged over $15 per year by the Queensland Government). If these countries can supply these cards so cheaply why are we paying so much?

Estonia | €25 for 5 years

Germany | €28.80 for 10 years

Hungary | Free

Lithuania | €8.6 per 10 years (Same card as Queensland)

Implementation Costs

It’s hard to find a comparison however one system implemented in Bulgaria cost USD $139 million for a 10 year contract to develop and supply a system for issuing biometric identity documents. This includes 1 million passports and 2.8 million identity documents.

Estonia has a far more advanced contactless card that can be used to vote, public transport and a lot more and is used for ID cards, residence permit cards, digital IDs and diplomatic IDs. A new 5 year contract for this service cost €40 million | AUD $60 million.

The Estonian ID cards are used in health care, electronic banking, signing contracts, public transit, encrypting email and voting. Estonia offers over 600 e-services to citizens and 2400 to businesses. The card’s chip stores digitised data about the authorised user, most importantly: the user’s full name, gender, national identification number, and cryptographic keys and public key certificates.

The newest version of Estonia’s ID card, featuring additional security elements and a contactless interface. The new cards also utilise Estonia’s own font and elements of its brand. One new detail is the inclusion of a QR code, which will make it easier to check the validity of the ID card. The new design also features a color photo of its bearer, which doubles as a security element and is made up of lines; looking at the card at an angle, another photo appears. The new ID cards, however, have contactless functionality built in. The new chip has a higher capacity, allowing us to add new applications to it.

The promised features from 2003

Let’s see how this card delivered on it’s promises from 2003. Failed promises have a strike through them.

  • Reduce identity fraud
  • Allow you to keep emergency contact details on the card (all police cars would be fitted out with readers)
  • Remove the need for address on the licence (all businesses that need the address would have to have card readers to read the address for example at the time video stores, car rentals etc)
  • Allow business to be transacted online with the Transport Department
  • Public transport payment card
  • Used for vending machine and small transactions in stores

Summary

In summary the promises of the “Smart Card” were over-stated and aside from a higher security card that could have been achieved through the use of card printers replacing the existing laminating machines there has been no benefit except to the private companies involved in the manufacturing of the cards and systems that support it. Instead of choosing an off the shelf system as used throughout Europe we choose instead to deal with multiple companies to produce a solution to a problem that not only did not exist but we wasted vast amounts for features that will never be used.

Other countries have continued to update their cards and allowed them to be used for public transport and many other useful applications, our politicians just talk about us being a world leader all the time but nothing could be further from the truth. Politicians should be held responsible for their actions, they are paid incredibly well by world standards, they have vast resources at their snouts fingertips but they continue to mislead the public and throw away taxpayer money because there are no ramifications.

The quoted cost of implementing this system was $139 million however drivers are paying around $15 a year extra and with 3.6 million drivers in 2017 this is an additional cost of $54 million per year since 2010. By the year 2019 the government has profited by around $400 million and delivered a product that offers nothing that the deployment of secure card printers to each Transport office would have offered. By the time they look at replacing these cards it will be 2025-30 and over a billion dollars will have been wasted.

Ministers who should represent the taxpayer seem to instead be pushing the technology that lobby groups are promoting. What has occurred with the “Smart Card” licence in Queensland is nothing short of criminal, in the 9 years since implementation the additional costs to drivers has been in the order of $540 million of which over $400 million is profit for a “Smart Card” that delivered nothing.

Other countries like Estonia are actually leading the way with innovation, the Queensland Governments idea of innovation is to talk about it in Media Statements thinking that if they repeat it enough it will come true and they will fool citizens into believing their rubbish.

And to top it off they have just announced they are looking at creating a new digital drivers licence for your smartphone, yet another solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Identity theft is still an issue and one partial solution to this problem would be to have a drivers licence number that changes with each renewal but operates in a similar way to virtual credit card numbers. The card number stays the same behind the scenes but from outwards appearance this is a new number. If you think that your drivers licence has been compromised just order a renewal and it will give you a new drivers licence number and the old one is voided. When someone applies for credit using the old card number it is flagged as expired and doesn’t go through.

This new driver licence was supposed to reduce the amount of identity fraud but it has achieved nothing as most fraud is committed online using your drivers licence number. Imagine if they used a system like in Estonia where you could use a secure smart card to prove your identity.

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