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Singapore introduces facial recognition for private and government identification

How do you feel about governments using facial recognition?

facial recognition in singapore
Image: DBS

Singapore is the first country in the world that will use cloud facial verification technology for its national identity scheme. As a result, citizens of Singapore will be able to access a wide range of both government and private sector services using just facial recognition.

Cloud facial verification is already part of Singapore’s digital identity system known as SingPass. With the new upgrade, over four million Singapore citizens can use facial verification to complete various transactions online. 

The SingPass Facial Verification (SFV) system is developed by iProov and can easily distinguish if the person is not genuinely present. For example, the SFV can recognize if a deep-fake video, a mask, or a photograph is used to attempt to gain access to someone’s account. 

Privacy concerns

Initially, there were some concerns regarding privacy and personal data. Human rights activities expressed their concerns about how all that will be handled. It didn’t take long for Singapore officials to respond to the given concerns and explain how they handle privacy and personal data.

According to a series of press releases:

  • They only collect the necessary data
  • The user’s consent will be the basis for it all. User consent is mandatory before the verification
  • Every image used for the verification process is to be removed from the government servers after 30 days of storage
  • Private companies don’t have and never will have access to any personal data collected through the SFV
  • The government must never sell or disclose personal data collected through the SingPass Facial Verification (SFV) system

According to Kwok Quek Sin, a senior government official in Singapore, user consent is a must with every verification. Private entities will benefit from this system because they don’t need to bother with collecting and storing personal data.

SFV usage & businesses 

According to government officials, every business that wants it and meets a set of government standards can use the SFV technology. 

For some time, the Singapore Bank has used the SFV technology. Thanks to the SFV, Singapore residents can use this tech to open a new bank account with the Singapore Bank DBS. Furthermore, Singapore’s tax offices are also using SFV tech.

In conclusion

Facial verification is already widespread and used by many government departments all over the world. The SFV tech seems like the next logical step that also meets the needs of private businesses. Businesses can harvest all the great benefits using SFV technology without building the infrastructure and dealing with privacy and data protection. 

In theory, this is a win-win situation for all sides. The only real concern is that the government might take a dip in the ocean of personal data occasionally. If that aspect is covered, then Singapore can once again be at the forefront of something great.

What do you think? How do you feel about governments using facial recognition? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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