Singapore to implement a digital identity programme inspired by Estonia

The nation of Singapore is planning to implement a digital identity programme that is inspired by the one in Estonia.

The aim of the programme is to revamp its current national IDs, potentially allowing citizens simpler access to government services, financial transactions, and more.

According to the country’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore is not “going as fast as we ought to” in its drive to implement digital solutions and improving in areas such as electronic payment and transportation, news portal Today Online reported.

“We need a good digital identification service which is reliable. I can sign, I can identify myself, I can access services securely; and I can transact services online,” he told the portal, pointing to Estonia’s electronic ID card as an example. Estonia’s ID card can be used, for instance, as a national health insurance card, proof of identification when logging into bank accounts at home and for digital signatures, Today Online adds. Also, the Estonians can vote online using their secure ID cards.

“The Estonians have this: there is no reason why we should not have it,” the prime minister pointed out.

Learning from each other

Lee also wants to see more advances in cashless payments, and better use of data to make the transport system more responsive by adapting to demand and reducing unnecessary services, the Singaporean newspaper, Straits Times, reported.

“There are a lot of things that we can do individually, as a government, as a nation, and also for companies. To be participating, to come here, set up and use Singapore as a place to start up,” the newspaper cited Lee.

According to One World Identity, a communication news website, Singapore is also looking to simplify its web services, making it easier for citizens to find what they are looking for online.

“Starting this year, Singapore began collecting citizen iris scans for identity cards and related purposes. Singapore’s National Registration Act now mandates iris scans alongside photographs and fingerprints,” the website noted.

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Cover: The Singapore skyline (the image is illustrative.)

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor at Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain, the UK and all around the US, he now resides in Chicago, IL. He loves to write and besides working at Estonian World and doing some occasional blogging, he writes books and contributes to other outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at sten@estonianworld.com.