Singapore spruces up e-government platform, touts service portfolio

Country's e-government platform SingPass gets its first brand makeover since its launch 18 years ago, boasting access to 1,400 services offered by more than 340 organisations from both private and public sectors.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Singapore has rebranded its e-government services platform SingPass, with the app now boasting access to more than 1,400 services from more than 340 organisations in both private and public sectors. This includes integration with digital location check-in tool SafeEntry, which plays a key role in the country's COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. 

The brand "refresh" also marked the first time SingPass underwent a makeover since its launch 18 years ago, according to Government Technology Agency (GovTech), which oversees the public sector's ICT initiatives. Some 4 million local residents have a SingPass account.

The mobile app, to date, has clocked more than 2.5 million downloads, with at least 90% tapping the app at least once a month, GovTech said in a statement Thursday. Its user base grew three-fold in the past year alone. 

Since its rollout in October 2018, the SingPass mobile app has offered more than 10 new features including digital identification, face verification, and digital sign-on. 

Transactions processed on the platform doubled over the past year to more than 170 million, a growth GovTech attributed to the higher number of people turning to digital platforms amidst the pandemic. 

The Singapore government in recent years has opened up access to SingPass through APIs (application programming interfaces) and enabling private businesses to tap citizen data, as part of efforts to bring more services on to the platform. These now include banking and healthcare and the ability to retrieve personal citizen data and digitally sign documents. Users also could authenticate transactions using the SingPass app, bypassing the need for passwords, GovTech said.

Doing so not only delivered better customer experience, but also improved business efficiencies, it added. Allowing the use of SingPass to facilitate user login, for instance, removed the need for organisations to maintain their own authentication platform and users would not need to manage different sets of credentials, the government agency said.

It noted that transactions, such as digitally signed documents, were secured through the use of cryptographic technology. 

According to GovTech, plans are underway to expand support for "key transactional pages" on the SingPass website and app to include all of Singapore's four official languages, including Chinese and Malay. This was slated to be ready by year-end. 

Some 1,560 SingPass accounts were involved in a 2014 security breach where users received notifications that their passwords had been reset, despite not requesting to do so. The government then blamed the incident on the likely use of weak passwords or malware that could have been installed on the affected users' personal devices. 

Two-factor authentication (2FA) was introduced the following year as part of efforts to strengthen security on the e-government platform. 


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