I met with Greg Dark from the Australian Tax Office today. Australia and the UK have followed broadly similar e-government agendas over the last couple of years with each country moving a little ahead of the other alternately. Today, I think the ATO are a bit ahead again. They have a new tax portal that looks pretty good – it offers a lot of interactive services (which you won’t be able to see unless you are living in Australia and have a reference number for your business – an ABN). But, most interestingly today, they are moving ahead with certs … but not government issued certs which is where they’ve been to date. The big 4 banks are going to issue token-based (i.e. smart card) certificates, along with the readers needed. I am sure that there are going to be hardware problems and operating system configuration issues with this, but it’s great to see someone else taking a punt on this. And, because it’s coming from the banks, there will be commercial support and useful things to do with the certificate that are not just government based. More than a year ago, maybe as long as 2 years ago, the banks here were talking about something similar, using the same vehicle (Identrus) but with software certificates. That just doesn’t seem to have got anywhere. Will it ever?