The Singapore government is first in the world to use facial verification in its digital identity scheme. The SingPass Facial Verification, under the National Digital Identity (NDI) programme, enables about 4 million citizens to authenticate their identity and access digital services using their face.
In the recent webinar organised by the Global Government Forum (GGF), usability was highlighted as a key consideration for SingPass Facial Verification under the National Digital Identity (NDI) programme. Our Managing Director, Dr Foong Wai Keong was on the panel, together with Quek Sin, Senior Director of NDI at GovTech and Andrew Bud Chief Executive of iProov.
As part of NDI initiative’s broader principle of citizen centricity, the Biometrics as a Service is made available to both government agencies and the private sector. Businesses can tap on government by a simple API integration.
A secure integration channel is created via the Ecquaria Integration Centre (EIC), mediating data requests between applications calling the SingPass Facial Verification service, iProov, and the SingPass app. “It determines configurable rules to determine whether the request should be accepted and is legitimate. This actively prevents misbehaving applications from sending invalid requests or malicious attempts to exploit through the EIC API gateway to target the endpoint.” Dr Foong explains.
DBS is one of the first private sector organisations to pilot the service on their DBS DigiBank app as it looks to extend its digital banking services to the less tech-savvy audiences.
One of the visions GovTech has for the system is that no enrolment is required. “We don’t want all the citizens to re-enrol onto this biometrics scheme” explained Quek Sin while answering the question why the face was the chosen biometrics modality.
Driven by the citizen-centric vision, more than 4 million Singapore citizens can now access digital services with a simple, consent-driven face biometric scan. By doing so, services are more accessible, especially to older residents with limited mobility. It also improves convenience for millions of Singapore residents, who will be able to easily and securely access government and business services online using their existing national identity.
These days, digital services are expected to be always available, anytime and anywhere. And one of the vital usability design principles is enabling citizens to access the service without any additional device. Citizens can simply authenticate themselves via the cameras on their mobile phones, tablets or laptops.
Our partner, iProov’s facial verification solution stands out not only because it is highly accurate. The solution is easy to use, achieving accuracy without requiring any special device or complex movement from the user. As Andrew, the founder of iProov, puts, “Our fundamental mission was to create a method of authentication that was simultaneously extremely secure but also incredibly usable – inclusivity is becoming important in most authentication applications. Face is ideal; it is one of the most passive methods [for users], and it is extremely device agnostic, as any device or tablet or laptop has a front-facing camera and can be used.”
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