SingPass app can soon be used as digital identity for some services

The manual task of keying in one's personal details when registering to visit a relative in hospital or buying a service at a roadshow may soon be a thing of the past when Singapore residents can use their SingPass Mobile app to scan a QR code instead.

The new tool developed by the Government, SG-Verify, can help businesses save time and gain better access to government-verified data when it is launched by December.

It is the next step in Singapore's national digital identity (NDI) system, a single digital identity that residents can use to access services across both government and private sectors.

In an update on digital government services yesterday, the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) said: "By the third quarter of FY2019, the Government will launch SG-Verify, a facility for businesses to perform secure identity verification and data transfer through QR scanning.

"This will provide businesses an alternative for visitor registration and access, customer acquisition at roadshows or any other use cases that require identification."

On the sidelines of the annual Smart Nation and Digital Government industry briefing, GovTech's senior director of the NDI, Mr Kwok Quek Sin, told reporters that organisations which could benefit from this new offering include charities, banks and clubs that require members to sign up.

Also by December, an updated version of the Moments of Life app will be available and include new services catering to seniors. The app is a digital platform for services and information that is currently aimed at parents and caregivers of young children.

Introduced last June, it was meant to help parents avoid the hassle of going to different government agencies to complete forms and providing the same information repeatedly for services.

The updated app will include relevant information and services that encourage seniors to lead active and engaged lives.

GovTech also said yesterday that the Government will launch its trial for smart street lamps in Geylang and the one-north business park in Buona Vista some time between October and December.

This Lamppost-as-a-Platform trial will gather surveillance information to give government agencies the lay of the land, allowing them to detect potential problems and respond quickly to incidents such as unruly crowds, train breakdowns and traffic congestion.

The trial will assess the efficacy of using lamp posts to connect and power various kinds of sensors to support municipal, mobility and security domains, said GovTech.

The agency also said it had conducted a new survey which showed there is greater satisfaction with government digital services. In face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 1,500 respondents above 19 years old, it found government-to-citizen satisfaction had increased from 73 per cent to 78 per cent year on year in 2018, while government-to-business satisfaction went up from 64 per cent to 69 per cent.

GovTech also said that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to participate in more than 80 per cent of its info-communications and technology contracts this year.

Chief executive of GovTech Kok Ping Soon said: "We are heartened that there is a growing pool of SMEs that have stepped up and embraced technology, and we will continue to work with them to uplift their capabilities while helping us build a smart nation and digital government."

How SG-Verify works

SG-Verify aims to make the exchange of data between customers and organisations easier by skipping the time-consuming need to fill out forms or input personal details. Instead, the data in an individual's SingPass Mobile is tapped.

This removes the hassle of customers having to provide documents, the need for staff to sort out paperwork and data entry, and the security risk of this personal data being mishandled.

To use it, customers scan a QR code provided by the organisation on their SingPass Mobile app that will allow the organisation to retrieve the required data.

The request for the data is approved by the Government, which generates the QR code and allows the organisation to draw what it needs.

On the sidelines of the annual Smart Nation and Digital Government industry briefing yesterday, GovTech's senior director of the national digital identity, Mr Kwok Quek Sin, told reporters that this use would comply with the Personal Data Protection Act.

Customers will be told on the app what data will be given to the organisation, and the information is shared only with their consent.

Examples of potential uses for SG-Verify are:

• Form-filling to sign up with charities or make donations

• Applying for membership at clubs

• Opening new accounts or signing up for credit cards at a bank roadshow

• Registering at a hospital when visiting a loved one.

Hariz Baharudin