Digital data vault to enrol all SingPass users by year end

All 3.3 million SingPass users will be automatically enrolled in MyInfo, a government-backed digital vault of personal data, by the end of the year.
All 3.3 million SingPass users will be automatically enrolled in MyInfo, a government-backed digital vault of personal data, by the end of the year. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

All 3.3 million SingPass users will be automatically enrolled in MyInfo, a government-backed digital vault of personal data, by the end of the year.

GovTech, the agency behind the public-sector tech transformation, announced the move yesterday , saying the auto-enrolment will sharply increase the pool of MyInfo users from the 200,000 people who have signed up for the service thus far.

While some welcomed the convenience of the service, there were concerns from security experts about the safety of the personal data.

Launched in May last year, MyInfo pulls personal data, such as name and address, from seven public agencies - including the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore - into a central repository.

It also provides users' data on their request to auto-fill government and bank forms online, say, when applying for or renewing work permits for domestic helpers, or when opening bank accounts.

Senior Minister of State Janil Puthucheary, who is in charge of GovTech, said: "We envision MyInfo to be a key part of our tell-us-once ecosystem, and we see this as a key enabler of our Smart Nation initiative."

  • 200k

    Number of people who have signed up for MyInfo thus far

He added that MyInfo is a "next step" towards forming a national digital identity (NDI) for every resident, layering on the 14-year-old SingPass authentication system set up for Singapore residents to access e-government services.

"With this expansion of MyInfo, every SingPass user will get the added convenience of just confirming his pre-filled information when transacting with selected online government services."

The target is to have all 160 government e-citizen services linked to MyInfo by next year, from the current 24.

In May, MyInfo was extended to four banks - OCBC Bank, United Overseas Bank, DBS Bank and Standard Chartered Bank - to allow customers to auto-fill forms for 19 digital services, including the opening of bank accounts. Yesterday, DBS said it is exploring ways to further speed up the delivery of services applied online using MyInfo.

Dr Janil said MyInfo will be expanded to auto-fill the online forms of other locally registered businesses by the end of this year, but did not provide details.

Independent global cyber-security expert Aloysius Cheang said the move must be accompanied by a more urgent roll-out of the NDI. "If one's SingPass account is compromised, hackers will have the consolidated personal profile of the user in one place," he said.

The NDI, which Dr Janil had said would likely be in place in three years, will be a phone app that provides encryption, which is a safer way to authenticate someone online. The NDI will also provide greater assurance of authenticity in the online world.

It will layer on the existing SingPass, which has been considered insufficient for the country's future needs as it does not provide encryption or prevent hackers from using someone else's stolen identity.

A GovTech spokesman said MyInfo data is not all stored in a single site but across multiple systems. "These systems are safeguarded by cyber-security measures, including a combination of end-to-end encryption and multi-layered security. In line with industry best practices, these measures are reviewed and updated on a regular basis to enhance data protection."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'Digital data vault to enrol all SingPass users by year end'. Print Edition | Subscribe