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National digital identity at the core of Singapore’s Digital Government Blueprint

Singapore has been touting a Smart Nation theme for some years now. First announced in 2013, by the then IDA or Infocomm Development Authority, there appeared to be a few important components to enable Singapore’s Smart Nation vision.

First, was a data-as-a-service pilot that gave organisations access to datasets. Second, was super connectivity, or connectivity between everything, everywhere at all times.

Third, is a network of sensors that collect data via aggregation gateway devices all over the island nation, while the fourth, the Smart Nation Platform or SNP, brings everything including the first three components, together.

“As part of Singapore’s roadmap to become a Smart Nation, our enhanced growth strategy for the digital economy will go hand-in-hand with our digital government strategies,” Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Former Minister for Communications and Information, had said at that time.

Fast forward four years later, after a list of further efforts and initiatives have been put in place and Singapore launches a Digital Government Blueprint and a national digital economy framework, to support their Smart Nation vision.

Nation-enabling services

Announced by DPM and the Coordinating Minister for National Security, Teo Chee Hean, the blueprint, among other things, aims to put Singapore citizens at the core, with easy and intuitive e-government services. This would be supported by significant back-end, whole-of-nation enabling systems like Singapore’s National Digital Identity system, and an e-payments infrastructure.

A more enhanced SingPass Mobile, part of the national digital identity system, is slated to be rolled out later this year, and is a 2-factor authentication, PKI-based system which enables Singaporeans to pay bills, sign online documents, buy or sell a house or car, without needing physical tokens or SMS passwords to access online government services.

Another part of the National Digital Identity project, which appears to be enabling this convenience is MyInfo, a service which allows Singaporeans to auto-fill their personal details in online forms without having to repeat or submit supporting documents.

According to Singapore’s newspaper, Straits Times, the target is to have all 160 government e-citizen services linked to MyInfo by 2018, from the current 24.

In May 2017, MyInfo was extended to four banks – OCBC, United Overseas Bank, DBS and Standard Chartered – to allow customers to auto-fill forms for 19 digital services, including credit card application and the opening of bank accounts.

At the same time, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is working with industry partners to enhance its National e-Payments ecosystem, so as to be able to support a range of e-payments platforms at the user-level.

To help government agencies speed up the development of digital services, GovTech is building the Singapore Government Technology Stack (SG Tech Stack). The SG Tech Stack is a self-service platform for agencies to build their digital applications faster, and create a more consistent and connected user experience. Services that usually take a year to build, can be completed in mere months instead.

SG Tech Stack consists of a data layer, infrastructure layer, application infrastructure layer, and a library of micro-services.

Singapore aims to have fully digitalised and end-to-end government services for its citizens by 2023.

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