In Asia, ambitious digital ID targets accompany digitization
Digital transformation and the adoption of digital ID frameworks continues to surge in Asia, where governments are ramping up registration to improve digital ecosystems, and address administrative backlogs. The issue promises to be front-and-centre in the region in 2023, as increasing need for efficient digital services buts up against the realities of infrastructure gaps, privacy issues and existing snafus around biometric data.
Thailand aims for ten million digital IDs
In Thailand, the government has set an ambitious target of ten million registered digital IDs, double the current total, in an attempt to implement the Thailand Digital ID Framework (2022-24), reports the Bangkok Post. Led by the country’s Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry, in cooperation with the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), the framework is designed to make access to public and private sector services easier, via the use of biometric data and digital ID.
Implementation is well underway, and guidelines, standards and measures are being developed across sectors. A face verification service (FVS) system will allow users to register for a national digital ID and verify their identity online, eliminating the need to travel to a physical service location.
Thailand has three major digital ID platforms: Mobile ID, managed by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission; D.DOPA, by the Department of Provincial Administration (DPA), and National Digital ID.
Vietnam to ‘create new values’ in national digital transformation
In Vietnam, the government is now one year into its plan to develop e-identification, e-authentication and a population database for digital transformation by 2025. Speaking in Hanoi, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said 2023 would be a year of “forming and exploiting data to create new values,” according to Vietnam Plus. But he also stressed that there was work to be done in providing digital equality, noting that Vietnam still has 266 villages and hamlets with no access to power or internet services.
However, progress has been made. Chinh says a national database should be complete by 2023, pointing to improvements in broadband and mobile internet speed and methods to detect and prevent cyber-attacks. He also underlined the importance of connectivity and sharing of digital platforms and databases, to expedite online access to essential public services and personnel training.
Philippines to tackle license backlog
With supply chain issues affecting the world economy, national digital IDs could also help alleviate some of the problems associated with physical ID cards — namely, printing them. According to the Philippine Star, in Manila, a shortage of functioning laser engraving units has contributed to a massive backlog in issuing driver’s licenses.
With defective units being repaired as a result of wear-and-tear, and a limited number of working machines in circulation, the backlog sat at 92,000 as of December 2022. Now, the head of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has ordered all backlogs to be addressed by January 15 of this year.
Following its launch in 2017, the LTO was issuing 500,000 of the biometric drivers licenses every month. The cards are equipped with 32 security features and fingerprint biometrics.
For drivers with patience, a hybrid option is available: drivers can opt for an end-to-end process that captures biometric data initially, then issues a physical card within a week.
LTO’s online license renewal portal has been going through its own challenges with fraud, meanwhile.