iProov and Toppan Ecquaria bring face biometrics to Singapore’s national digital identity system
iProov is providing biometric face verification for the Singaporean government’s national digital identity program, in collaboration with partner Toppan Ecquaria, to authenticate citizens online.
The biometric technology was implemented by the partners for the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) under its National Digital Identity (NDI) program, which was announced last year. The program allows private businesses to authenticate customers from among the four million SingPass users online using the national digital ID infrastructure. SingPass users can also complete government interactions like tax returns online without entering a password, according to the announcement. Banks and other businesses of all sizes can use SingPass Face Verification for online customer authentication without building their own system.
SingPass has evolved into a gateway for more than 500 digital services from more than 180 government agencies and businesses.
The integrated technology, including iProov’s Genuine Presence Detection, was selected following an open international tender and months of user testing under what the companies call “intensive security evaluation.” iProov explained the difference between its Genuine Presence Assurance and liveness checks with biometric selfies in a recent company blog post.
“This pioneering service enables citizens to live in a world of trust online,” says iProov Founder and CEO Andrew Bud. “By iProoving themselves, the people of Singapore can have even greater confidence in their safety, privacy and security on the internet.”
“This marks a tipping point for facial verification. 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. 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.”
The implementation marks the first use of iProov’s cloud facial verification has been used to secure national digital identity, and the company says it is the first time for any cloud service of its kind. The Ecquaria Government Platform Suite augments and replaces a device-based security solution based on SMS one-time passcodes (OTP).
Users gain the security and convenience of biometric authentication, but without sharing sensitive personal data with each organization they authenticate to. It is hoped the biometric tool will also help increase the adoption of digital services, in support of one of Singapore’s Smart National initiative aims.
“We recently introduced a new biometrics face verification service for users to log in more conveniently to digital services, whilst providing an added layer of security for government agencies and businesses,” states GovTech Singapore Senior Director of National Digital Identity Quek Sin Kwok. “SingPass Face Verification, under our National Digital Identity (NDI) programme, 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.”
The companies say the face verification service also eliminates the need to enroll, as it matches against images held in the government biometric database, increases service accessibility such as online banking for older Singaporeans or those with mobility issues, extends accessibility beyond those with smartphones with deployment to government kiosks, and improve service convenience for all Singapore residents. It is intended to increase overall cybersecurity by doing away with passwords and other credentials that can be stolen through phishing attacks, and reduce the burden of password reset administration.