SINGAPORE - A WhatsApp chatbot for the public to check if a message is a scam and the expansion of a national vaccine booking system to include more shots were among the announcements made in Parliament last Friday.
The Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) also announced milestones for digital tools used here, like Singpass, PayNow and ScamShield.
The Straits Times highlights some announcements made.
Milestones for digital services
Listing some milestones that digital services had reached in the past year, Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo said that such tools helped people to apply for government services and seek help when they need it.
Most of these transactions can be completed from the comfort of users’ homes, added Mrs Teo, who is also the Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity.
There are 5 million users of Singapore’s digital identity app Singpass, with 4.2 million people using Singpass via its app. Nine in 10 of all Singpass transactions are conducted via the app, said SNDGG in a statement.
Some 300,000 transactions are performed daily using MyInfo, a service that allows users to fill in digital forms for credit cards and official services with their personal data drawn from government databases. At least 1,000 digital services offered by government agencies and businesses are onboard.
Funds transfer platform PayNow facilitated 311 million individual and corporate transactions in 2022, double the 144 million transactions made in 2020.
The government also migrated 64 per cent of eligible government systems to the cloud in 2022.
New anti-scam measures to come
Message recipients can upload a screenshot of texts to the new ScamShield Bot on WhatsApp to check if they are scams. Available later this year, the ScamShield Bot will flag likely scam content based on crowdsourced reports and police blacklisted contacts and links.
The bot is a spinoff of ScamShield, an app that has blocked 200,000 scam calls and detected more than 3.5 million scam messages since 2022, said SNDGG. The app has reached some 500,000 users since its launch in 2020.
The newly launched Government Cyber Security Operations Centre to respond to cyber threats faced by national agencies will soon also be able to detect malicious sites posing as government agency webpages.
Health Appointment System will be expanded to more vaccines
Singaporeans can make a booking for any nationally recommended vaccine online on the Health Appointment System, which is to be expanded soon.
The system was re-purposed from the Covid-19 vaccination system, which facilitated some 14.7 million appointments for shots following the roll-out in December 2020. The e-appointment system was relaunched in 2022 to include other vaccines, and close to 40,000 flu and pneumococcal vaccination bookings have been made under the system.
The updated service streamlines the online booking process, providing users with a clear list of vaccine providers, instead of having to try their luck with clinics to see if they carry the vaccine they are seeking. By June, the expanded service will also include all recommended vaccines against diseases for adults and children.
The first expansion of the system in February includes the vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. Recommended for women between nine and 26 years old, the HPV vaccine is available at more than 700 Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) clinics and can be booked on the Health Appointment System. The shot is fully funded for orange and blue Chas card holders.
To make a booking, visit book.health.gov.sg
Jurong Lake District Innovation Challenge
Enterprises and researchers stand a chance to win $50,000 from their proposals on tackling urban environmental issues within the Jurong Lake District, set to be the largest business district outside the central area.
Participants have six challenges, including to reduce a building’s energy consumption while allowing occupants to feel comfortable; create a digital way to gather and analyse waste data from large commercial properties; and find ways to promote walking and cycling within the district.
Their proposals will be evaluated by a panel from the government and companies linked to the district, including CapitaLand, Jurong Community Hospital and SMRT.