Digital identity initiatives for government services see a mix of progress and delay

Digital identity initiatives for government services see a mix of progress and delay

Companies in Malaysia see greater opportunity for adoption of biometrics and AI technologies to support a digital economy and financial inclusion arising as the government carries out its connectivity plans, The Malaysian Reserve, reports.

The managing director of NEC’s Malaysian subsidiary says that the National Fiberisation, Connectivity Plan 2 and 5G initiatives will enable businesses to launch more digital services. He also says the company will focus on supporting the government’s digital economy push, providing biometrics and other technologies for smooth and secure authentication that meets eKYC requirements.

“There is a strong push by the government for a national digital ID, which will be used by government and private sectors, to meet the needs to identify individuals accessing e-services and authenticate other secure transactions,” said NEC Corp of Malaysia Sdn Bhd MD Chong Kai Wooi.

Ant Financial subsidiary Zoloz provides biometric technology to replace PINs, passwords, and in-person verification processes in the country. The company’s general manager told The Reserve that it is hoping to reach more markets and institutions with eKYC for financial inclusion, though completing the necessary processes for people without ID documents poses a major challenge.

Trinidad and Tobago urged to establish digital ID

The government of Trinidad and Tobago needs to establish an electronic authentication framework, including biometrics and digital identity management services, to support a transition to a more efficient and resilient economy, according to an editorial for the Trinidad Daily Express.

Mandatory services that remain mostly paper-based cause friction between government agencies, businesses, and citizens, while generating costs. The country already has the necessary laws for legal recognition of data provided in electronic form, through the Electronic Transactions Act (2011), and its amendments under The Exchequer And Audit (Electronic Funds Transfer) Regulations, 2015.

With cautions about the need for alternative processes and to build up digital skills, ICT & Digital Economy Strategist Tracy F. Hackshaw writes that establishing foundational shared services for digital processes and transactions can help Trinidad and Tobago recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and foster its competitiveness in the future.

Kurdistan biometric system advances

Kurdistan’s government has approved the second stage of implementing a national biometric system to enable e-government processes and manage government institutions, according to an NAS News article translated by Google.

The Kurdistan Regional Council of Ministers approved the next stage following a presentation by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani on the stages, goals, and intended results of the project. The government hopes the identity system will enable a reform program and establish new and effective mechanisms for good governance, NAS News reports.

Singapore digital ID reaches banking sector

SingPass has been used by 1.8 million customers of OCBC Bank in Singapore to log into digital banking services without multiple access codes or PINs. The bank claims to be the first to launch login support for SingPass, which became available for OCBC customers on July 4, 2020, according to Fintechnews Singapore.

The Singpass Mobile app, which is produced by the Government Technology Agency, is used by more than 1.6 million residents to access e-government services from more than 60 agencies. It can also be used at some venues to facilitate contact tracing, according to the report.

“Inclusion and accessibility have been core to our digital transformation narrative. I believe that offering SingPass – a trusted and widely used mode of digital authentication in Singapore – as an alternate login, will give more of our customers the confidence and convenience to bank with us digitally,” states OCBC Bank Head of Digital Business for Singapore and Malaysia Aditya Gupta. “We have partnered with GovTech to pioneer the co-creation of a trust ecosystem for Singapore’s banking industry using the national digital identity platform, which will radically improve how our customers access and experience our digital services.”

Biometric liveness and integration issues delay Australian credential

Integration problems have forced Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency to delay the launch of the new myGovID digital identity credential for the MyGov online services portal, iTnews reports.

The pilot for the credential, which was expected to replace the legacy two-factor system by the end of the 2019-2020 financial year, was concluded in May, with 149 people testing the new log-in option. A spokesperson said that integration errors, confusion about the processes among users, and the ways names are captured and shared between services need to be addressed before it is ready.

Perhaps more disturbing, the biometric liveness detection feature still has no vendor, though the myGovID app has been available to Android and iOS users for a year. The DTA has tested liveness detection from Idemia and possibly other vendors, but the process of contracting one is still ongoing, according to the spokesperson, and public tests of liveness detection have not yet begun.

Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said earlier this month that the facial recognition functionality of myGovID will become available in September.

More than 1.4 million Australians have used myGovID to establish a digital identity so far.

Gov.UK Verify assessed with low chance of completion

Gov.UK Verify has been identified among the government projects most likely to be abandoned before completion, according to an annual report from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) reported by Computer Weekly.

Of 26 projects examined by the body, 11 are considered ‘Red,’ meaning at high risk of not being completed, including Gov.UK Verify. The project was also flagged with a Red rating last year.

This despite the report noting the pandemic has highlighted the importance of technology. The IPA also noted a major increase in demand for government services using digital identity, creating a short-term dependency on the Verify service, which resulted in its extension.

New identities created per week spiked from around 35,000 to roughly 150,000 in late-March, causing a 497 percent budget variance.

Other projects deemed unlikely to be completed include broadband coverage initiatives.

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