New SingPass feature allows secure use of digital signatures for property caveats

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SINGAPORE - Signing legal and business documents online will be made possible with the roll-out of a new feature on national digital identity system SingPass.

Its first user is the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), which is piloting the technology to allow the digital signing of property caveats e-lodged with the SLA.

The new feature, called Sign with SingPass, is available on SingPass Mobile, an all-in-one app that stores the NRIC barcodes and personal details of 2.1 million users.

The app lets users access online government services by scanning their fingerprints or faces on smartphones without needing to enter any passwords.

With the new digital signing feature, the app will also enable the virtual signing of documents.

The signature is encrypted and linked to the signee, whose identity is automatically validated against the Government's database at the point of signing.

The Government Technology Agency (GovTech), which developed the tool, said the new feature is timely as the Covid-19 pandemic has seen individuals and firms choose virtual options when conducting government transactions.

"Through Sign with SingPass, businesses will save cost and manpower by removing the manual processes of verifying physical paperwork," said Mr Kok Ping Soon, chief executive of GovTech, in a statement on Thursday (Nov 5).

To start, users call up the SingPass Mobile app on their phone and launch the scan function. By clicking on a document ready for signing on a computer, a unique QR code will be launched.

The user then scans the QR code with the SingPass Mobile app to initiate a signing request. At the same time, the SingPass Mobile app will scan users' faces or fingerprints to authenticate and complete the digital signing process.

The initiative is in line with the digital government blueprint target to enable citizens to complete between 90 per cent and 95 per cent of their e-government transactions without leaving their homes by 2023.

The service supports signing on all major platforms, including DocuSign, iText, Netrust, Adobe, OneSpan, Dedoco, and Kofax.

During the signing, confidential data residing in the documents will not be transferred between these platforms and GovTech. Instead, only an encrypted, random code representing the signed document will be transferred.

Private-sector organisations keen to use Sign with SingPass for their digital services can register their interest at the website. The service is free for now.

In July, GovTech launched SingPass Face Verification to allow private-sector organisations to tap the nation's digital identity infrastructure to securely verify online transactions without needing to build their own systems.

DBS Bank was the first private-sector entity to pilot SingPass Face Verification, which is integrated into its digibank app.

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