iProov provides facial biometrics to Singapore GovTech programme

British biometrics firm iProov has agreed a partnership with the government of Singapore to provide face verification services for a national identity programme.

The partnership will use iProov’s technology to enable four million Singapore citizens to prove they are genuinely present when accessing online services from more than 60 government departments, meaning they can complete activities such as tax returns and checking state pensions via a facial biometric scan at a computer or kiosk.

The agreement comes as part of the Government Technology Agency of Singapore's National Digital Identity (NDI) programme known as ‘SingPass’, which has grown into a gateway allowing access to more than 500 digital services offered by more than 180 government agencies and commercial entities.

Genuine Presence Assurance and Toppan Ecquaria were both also selected for the project following an open international tender, with months of user testing and security evaluation.

iProov, founded in 2011 and headquartered in London, has provided authentication technology to the NHS, Eurostar, the UK Home Office and the US Department for Homeland Security.

The GovTech partnership marks the first time that cloud facial verification has been used to secure national digital identity.

Unlike facial recognition, which matches a physical face seen in a crowd to a list of images on a database, face verification is done with the knowledge and collaboration of the user.

The camera on the mobile device, computer or kiosk illuminates the user’s face with a cryptographic sequence of colours for a few seconds. This confirms that a user is the right person (the rightful holder of their national identity number); a real person (not a photograph, mask or digital spoof); and authenticating right now (not a deepfake or injected video).

The solution will replace a device-based security solution, which uses SMS one-time passcodes.

Singapore is already allowing private sector organisations to leverage the government-built identity infrastructure for SingPass. Banks and other businesses can integrate with SingPass Face Verification to offer online customer authentication capabilities without the cost of building their own systems.

Quek Sin Kwok, senior director of national digital identity at GovTech Singapore, said: “SingPass Face Verification, under our NDI programme, will help partners enhance their customer service journeys - we will continue to extend useful and trusted NDI services to more private sector organisations to accelerate digitalisation and grow Singapore’s digital economy.”

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