Privacy and security

Provide appropriate security and privacy

The level of protection required for a specific API depends on a risk assessment (e.g. of the consequences of an information leak).


Agencies should match each API to the relevant assurance level so that the controls applied can be comapared to the recommendations for that level.

Table 2: API assurance level implementation guidance

Assurance Level Identity Confidence Example information set Recommended controls
0 None Open data - for example, all data sets on None
1 Minimal Public Data validation services - for example, ABN Lookup Authentication GUID issued to any self-registered entity
2 Low Parking permit application, tax return, balance enquiry, private data validation (for example, TFN validation) OpenID Connect to accredited identity provider with single factor authentication and level 2 identity confidence (for example, online registration process with shared secret)
3 Moderate Create or update bank details (for payments & refunds), personal medical records OpenID Connect to accredited identity provider with multi-factor authentication and level 3 identity confidence – for example, face-to-face registration with 100 point Document Verification Service (DVS) verified Proof of Identity (POI)
4 High Not applicable to public API services Physical identity verification including biometrics

It is very important to apply the right assurance level to each granular API operation. Failure to do so can seriously impact user experience or service risk.

Guidance on the best practice usage of the OpenID Connect protocol for securing government API services that require NEAF assurance level 2 or 3 is provided in the Securing APIs guide.

For peer-to-peer messaging using standards such as ebMS3/AS4, the same assurance level is achieved but with different protocols (WS-Security and SAML2.0).