Singaporeans to access government services via face verification


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 24 September, 2020



Singaporeans to access government services via face verification

The Singapore government has introduced a face verification system as part of its SingPass National Digital Identification Program that will allow users to securely access government services online.

The facial verification solution has been implemented by iProov and Toppan Ecquaria on behalf of the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech). The companies were selected in an open international tender.

Around 4 million of Singapore’s 5.6 million citizens use SingPass for accessing hundreds of online government services, such as filing tax returns. The system is also used by private sector companies for purposes including cross-border mobile payment, credit card applications and purchases of life insurance.

The system currently requires a passcode or fingerprint to access, but facial recognition will replace the need for users to share passwords and use SMS one-time passcodes if used.

Perhaps controversially, the system collects a user’s physical face and compares it to an image held in government biometric databases, meaning users will not have to enrol in the program.

The face recognition solution provided by iProov uses a camera on a mobile phone, computer or kiosk to confirm if a user is a match to their digital identity number. The system includes checks for whether the image being verified is not a photograph, mask, digital spoof, deepfake or injected video.

For users without smartphones, the service has been extended to government agency kiosks across Singapore.

“[The] biometrics face verification service [will allow] users to log in more conveniently to digital services, whilst providing an added layer of security for government agencies and businesses,” GovTech Singapore Senior Director of National Digital Identity Quek Sin Kwok said.

“SingPass Face Verification, under our National Digital Identity (NDI) program, will help partners enhance their customer service journeys. We will continue to extend useful and trusted NDI services to more private sector organisations to accelerate digitalisation and grow Singapore’s digital economy.”

iProov CEO Andrew Bud added that GovTech Singapore’s decision is a validation of the advancements made in face recognition technology.

“The technology has advanced so much in recent years that it can now provide the highest levels of reliable security for the authentication of a national digital identity program,” he said.

“By iProoving themselves, the people of Singapore can have even greater confidence in their safety, privacy and security on the internet.

“It has been a privilege to work on this forward-thinking project with real trailblazers in national digital identity. The rest of the world will study this innovation and draw conclusions from its success.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/chajamp

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