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Vietnam adds facial recognition for online immigration to digital transformation plan

Vietnam adds facial recognition for online immigration to digital transformation plan

Online immigration is next on Vietnam’s digital transformation checklist, with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh asking public security officials to explore using face biometrics and electronic passports as means to expedite digital immigration procedures.

VN Express reports that Chinh’s directive to the Ministry of Public Security asks that it “renovate administrative procedures and use technology and automation to process procedures for foreign visitors to Vietnam,” in the interest of tourism development. Other requests from the PM ask localities to make sure tourism establishments are offering fair, transparent pricing.

Vietnam is two years into Project 6, a significant push for digital transformation, which includes the implementation of a national digital ID. The country’s Civil Aviation Authority has already implemented biometrics trials for certain travel use cases, including facial recognition at security booths and boarding gates to match face biometrics with government ID data.

Digitization progress

A recent report from Ho Chi Minh City showed administrative units making good progress in implementing projects to develop and apply population data and electronic identification and authentication. Vietnam News reports that a committee assembled to track success held a virtual meeting in which it was agreed that the issuance of chip-based citizen digital ID cards was crucial to the overall project of digital transformation.

To date, Ho Chi Minh City has implemented 17 of 35 digital transformation models it hopes to complete by 2030. These include cashless payments for city schools, health diagnosis and treatment via chip-based citizen ID cards and the VNeID app, and digital signature provision via the VNeID app.

Dương Anh Đức, vice chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, says the ongoing work “will provide favorable conditions for the growth of Vietnamese digital businesses and help to complete the plans and programmes set by the municipal Party Committee.”

Authorities have successfully activated nearly 7.7 million ID cards and more than 5.5 million accounts at level 2 to date, per Vietnam News. Digitization of administrative procedures in HCMC has reached 96 percent.

Some hurdles remain. Officials have lobbied for increased compatibility and connectivity between databases at different levels of government, and expressed concern about public awareness. Police have offered support on the latter, deploying mobile teams to hospitals to help individuals create digital ID cards and activate their accounts.

There is also administrative bloat. Ho Chi Minh City now has three steering committees for the digital transformation file. Officials have suggested combining the three committees into one, in the interest of efficiency.

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