Parliament: SingPass Mobile to be rolled out in second half of 2018

The new NDI system accessed via the SingPass Mobile app is layered on the SingPass system, set up for Singapore residents in 2003 to access e-government services.
The new NDI system accessed via the SingPass Mobile app is layered on the SingPass system, set up for Singapore residents in 2003 to access e-government services.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE

SINGAPORE - A key component of Singapore's new national digital identity will be rolled out in the second half of this year.

The SingPass Mobile app will allow users to access e-government services more securely, and do away with hardware tokens and SMS one-time passwords, said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

He was giving an update on Singapore's new national digital identity (NDI), which will be connected to the existing SingPass for accessing e-government services.

During the debate on the PMO's budget, Ms Sun Xueling (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) and Ms Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson) asked if recent SingPass outages would affect the reliability of the NDI.

"How will the Government ensure that the NDI will be robust enough since citizens can use it to access services and potentially sensitive and personal information?" said Ms Tin.

Dr Balakrishnan replied: "A software bug in the recently upgraded system led to the crash. Unfortunately, this bug was in the backup system too."

A comprehensive update will be provided when investigations are over, he said. He assured the House that the Government imposes strict reliability and resiliency requirements for its critical systems and conducts regular and rigorous audits.

 
 

During the debate, several MPs also asked about tangible outcomes from Singapore's Smart Nation efforts. Dr Balakrishnan said: "These projects are on track."

For instance, SingPass Mobile will be put on trial in Government departments starting this month.

To activate it, people need to register once with their existing SingPass credentials.To use the account, they will log in with their fingerprints or a user-determined 6-digit pass code.

The app will provide a more secure and convenient way to access hundreds of e-government services, including the filing of income taxes, parking fine payments and permit applications of foreign maids.

The NDI also comprises a digital vault of personal data dubbed MyInfo, which “eliminates repetitive form-filling and document verification, and enhances accuracy”, he said.

Since late last year, the 3.3 million SingPass users were automatically enrolled in MyInfo. It helps users to auto-fill forms for some 70 e-government services - including applying for or renewing work permits for domestic helpers - and 30 banking services such as credit card application and the opening of bank accounts.

Processing time for the opening of new bank accounts and credit card applications has been reduced by 80 per cent, said Dr Balakrishnan, adding that more private sector firms will be integrated later this year.