In collaboration with
From 16 December 2020, SingPass users will have two new Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) options when transacting with government digital services.
The introduction of SingPass Face Verification and Multi-User SMS 2FA will provide more convenience and accessibility to government digital services securely. This is in line with the government’s efforts to build a digitally inclusive society by enabling digital access to government digital services for people from all walks of life.
With SingPass Face Verification, users can log in by entering their SingPass ID and password, followed by scanning their face on an Internet-enabled computer with a web camera, or a mobile device with a front-facing camera. Users without such devices can visit selected public locations equipped with this service, and more locations will be added progressively.
This technology is embedded with security measures to protect against fraud. For example, liveness detection technology is used to detect and block the use of a photograph, video, or mask during the verification process.
“We recognise that there are users who might not be as digitally savvy or able to navigate computers or smartphones. SingPass Face Verification as an alternative 2FA will be especially useful as it reduces the need to key in additional information like One-Time Passwords (OTPs). This option also serves our overseas Singaporean community who might not have a locally-registered number and are unable to receive SMS-OTPs,” said Mr Kwok Quek Sin, Senior Director, National Digital Identity.
Multi-User SMS 2FA
The Multi-User SMS 2FA is an extension of the existing SMS-OTP 2FA method. Users – who may require the assistance of others when transacting online – can opt to have their SMS-OTP sent to another SingPass user’s mobile number. For example, an elderly parent can choose to link his account to his child’s mobile number. With this, the child receives his parent’s SMS-OTP when the parent is transacting with SingPass. The child can then assist his parent in providing the 2FA to complete the transaction.
SingPass Face Verification and Multi-User SMS 2FA were launched ahead of the decommissioning of OneKey token in end-March 2021 – which was announced earlier on 31 March 2020. Together with SingPass Mobile and SMS-OTP, there are now four other 2FA options for the current OneKey token users. We are actively facilitating the remaining 120,000 OneKey token users to transit to these alternative 2FA methods, through direct mail, digital clinics and digital ambassadors.
There are currently three 2FA options for SingPass users – SingPass Mobile, SMS-OTP, OneKey token (to be decommissioned by 31 March 2021). These locations currently include IRAS Taxpayer and Business Service Centre, Our Tampines Hub’s Public Service Centre and CPFB’s Bishan Service Centre, and more locations will be rolled out progressively.
The Northern Territory Government has awarded a $64.4 million tender for the Client Management Systems Alignment program, known as the Care System, to improve the care and protection of children in the state.
The Care System will enable different and necessary government agencies such as Police, Territory Families, Housing and Communities, Health, Education and Attorney General to access the same information, create the one case file and share critical information to best manage each child’s specific case.
The region’s Minister for Territory Families and Urban Housing said the new Care System will give frontline staff in child protection and youth justice the necessary tools to better protect vulnerable children.
The Minister stated, “We want to make sure all Northern Territory children have the best start in life. A total of 72% of Territory Families, Housing and Communities’ core business is recorded outside of our approved computer system which is more than 25 years old.”
A UK-based tech firm and local a Territory business IT company have been selected for the project, which will provide a modern digital tool to assist frontline workers in child protection, youth justice and service provision for the Northern Territory’s most vulnerable children. A local Territory digital company has been selected to undertake work on this project with a dedicated local team.
The Minister for Corporate and Digital Development said the IT overhaul is one of the biggest the NT has ever undertaken and will be supported by specialist IT practitioners from a range of local Territory digital businesses.
He noted that the IT firm has more than 25 years’ experience delivering information technology solutions and services in the Northern Territory, with a local team dedicated to this project.
The Care System will provide child protection and youth justice case management solution to equip the Northern Territory Government with a holistic view of the child and increase opportunities for early intervention.
The Care System will also enable frontline staff to access important information anytime and will improve the connection between non-government, private service providers, the community and the government to access and update information related to child wellbeing.
The project came about after the Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory highlighted the limitations in current processes that support child protection and youth justice. In response, the Territory Government invested $64.4 million into the Care System to facilitate better information sharing and coordination.
The Minister for Territory Families and Urban Housing also noted that the creation of the Care System and the delivery of the program is all about it being based on the child. The NT government wants to make sure they are keeping up-to-date information on vulnerable families, so they can assist quickly and proactively.
The program is scheduled for completion in late 2022 and will improve the way Territory Families, Housing and Communities approaches child protection and youth justice, through a child-centric approach to systems and service delivery.
According to another article, The Department of Corporate and Digital Development (DCDD) is leading the project, formally known as the client management system alignment (CMSA) program, on behalf of Territory Families.
DCDD (then the Department of Corporate and Information Services) went looking for a new system in 2018 in response to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT. The Royal Commission identified systemic problems with the territory’s approach to child protection and youth justice, including limitations with several underpinning systems of record.
Systems of concern included the CCIS and the integrated offender management system (IOMS), neither of which ‘talked’ each other, as well as the police real-time online management system (PROMIS). The government said it expects the new Care system to improve “information sharing and coordination to ensure we are better protecting vulnerable children”.
As banking becomes more increasingly online, and with the data touchpoints on the rise, AI and ML have become an integral part of a bank’s DNA. It is a natural outcome that the more the data touchpoints, and the wider the data exposure, the greater the chances of things going wrong. Understanding this vulnerability, banks and financial institutions are keen on deploying AI/ML to keep a check on fraud incidents.
To get a better insight into how banks are adopting and adapting new technology and what is the future looking like for them, OpenGov Asia had a conversation with Dr David Hardoon, Senior Advisor for Data and Artificial Intelligence, Union Bank of Philippines.
David acknowledged that the rise in digital data points, as a result of increased online banking, has necessitated leveraging technologies like AI and ML to derive actionable insights. Additionally, more financial institutions see the benefits of adopting technology to keep fraud in check. The headway in security has encouraged them to scale it to other core functions like floor management, compliance, and regulation.
This is an almost-radical departure as historically there has been a reluctance in adopting technology among financial institutions due to unfamiliarity and the stern regulations around it. The pandemic has driven this paradigm shift, forcing organizations to think beyond their existing boundaries and comfort zones.
David noted that even the support office is catching up with the front office in terms of robustness, scalability, and capability to know when something is wrong. This is driven by the need to ensure a smooth and secure online experience for the customer.
On being asked about the notion that online malls and shopping sites are leading the way in customer experience and engagement over online banks and financial institutions, David agreed the banking industry is lagging but highlighted an important issue. The pandemic has driven people online but there is a fundamental lack of trust among customers engaging with such e-commerce sites.
“Trust is an equity financial institutions have, he opined. But it needs to be leveraged appropriately to build customer engagement online.”
Speaking about fraud and risk management in financial institutions in the post-COVID-19 era David shared that there has been a tremendous increase in the adoption of technology among banks. The strategy has been to use existing systems and adopt/adapt more sophisticated data techniques to achieve operational efficiency.
Banks are also focusing on taking the marketing mantra of hyper-personalization to compliance. David shared that data is the tool that equips banks with the ability and capacity of seeing and engaging individuals as individuals. Adding to this, he believes that such technologies can only be deployed in an institution when the top management believes in its power.
Elaborating on the future of AI/ML in fraud, David believes that the conversation is going to shift from digitizing the front office to bringing in the latest technology in the middle and back office in financial institutions. Apart from focusing on driving top-line growth, companies will need to get a better handle to know if anything wrong or irregular is happening.
David is confident that discussions around using AI/ML to manage fraud and risk will convert into action. The implementation might not be uniform across all institutions, but will it will move forward. Bigger institutions who have focused teams and resources will look to develop in-house fraud and risk management systems initially. A major reason behind it is the need to understand the complexities and difficulties associated with this process. Once they have familiarized themselves with it, they might partner with experts who champion the field.
All in all, David is an optimist who believes in the power of AI/ML, in risk and fraud management, and believes that conversations around it will get more operational.
A Malaysia-based tech firm has developed a highway monitoring system that integrates artificial intelligence (AI) and smart technology in its Smart Surveillance System (S3). Its group chief executive officer stated that the move complements the company’s ongoing effort to increase the safety rate and satisfaction level of highway users. He noted that, in line with Industrial Revolution 4.0, the company is prioritising efficient ways of working by utilising technology.
Through the implementation of S3, the level of highway efficiency will be upgraded and the safety of drivers improved. S3 enables the monitoring and detection of accidents, foreign objects, wild animals, potholes, surface cracks and ponding. The system also covers problems such as water spots, guard rail and slope failure, liquid spillage and road signage damage.
It combines technologies like AI and machine learning to provide notification to the relevant parties for further action. Since the launch of S3 on 19 August 2020, 1,303 incidents were detected in the first month alone. So far, the S3 has helped operations in carrying out immediate rectification with the real-time notifications. Fifty per cent of surface damage and highway asset damage were detected by the system and repairs were made immediately.
To improve security and safety, the company uses the Artificial Intelligence System Analytics (Aisya). By leveraging dashboard cameras and computers installed in every highway patrol car, it is able to obtain images of damage and accidents immediately.
The input is then sent over a 4G network to a cloud server to classify, identify and determine the next move. Aisya will then process, classify, analyse and come out with a digital report before notifying on-duty officers through their mobile application or websites.
Additionally, another system was developed by the firm alongside its industry partners for the purpose of highway management operation. It is called Prime and assisted the company in maintenance scheduling and digitisation.
With innovative technologies such as these, the company will escalate highway surveillance operations to ensure highway safety and user satisfaction. With the opening of new highways this year, including Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Highway and Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Highway, such digital applications can only mean a better and safer drive for highway users.
Tech to improve transport
Malaysia is working to push better traffic systems via technology. OpenGov Asia previously reported that the Malaysian government partnered a US-based GPS navigation software app to implement Bluetooth beacons across the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) highway and basement roads leading to car parks in the area.
The company will provide Bluetooth signals to improve navigation where GPS signals are limited, increase driver safety, and better visibility of real-time traffic events. Malaysia was the first in Southeast Asia to put Waze Beacons to the test.
The nation’s underground roads are an ideal test ground as they lead out to key exits, and it is expected the technology will enhance TRX’s level of services. Ensuring seamless connectivity is critical to support TRX’s status as an international financial hub.
Meanwhile, the Head of the Waze Beacons Program stated that the firm’s team is pleased to bring the Waze Beacons Program to Malaysia, the first Southeast Asian country to adopt the technology. Seamless navigation can be enjoyed in TRX when its underground roads are open to the public, but this is just the beginning and the aim is to expand into more areas nationwide across Malaysia soon.
A team led by Dr K.K.Y. Wong and Dr Y.K. Choi at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has designed and developed a multi-purpose IoT (Internet of Things) device named Stay Alert Stay Healthy (SASH) box which can be applied in multiple scenarios, providing a one-stop service for the public eager to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SASH box is built on the low-cost Raspberry Pi 4 which provides the computation resources necessary for hosting a lightweight server application as well as analysing the incoming data from its attached sensors.
It can be used to detect people with abnormal body temperature, whether they are wearing a face mask or not. It can also crawl updated COVID-19 information (e.g., locations of confirmed cases and required self-isolation cases) from government open databases to provide timely references for the general public.
The SASH box is equipped with LEDs, a speaker, and a consumer-grade thermal camera, enabling it to alert people to potential risks in the environment. The research team developed application components to enable it to operate as a multi-function device and a low-cost and effective solution for corporate and individual use.
Unlike hybrid thermal camera devices commonly used in the market, the SASH box is equipped with a single thermal camera but not RGB cameras to avoid compromising privacy. The team had collected and analysed over ten thousand thermal images and trained high-performance machine learning models to detect human faces with and without face masks using the low-resolution (120×160) thermal images captured from the device.
AI algorithms have also been developed for modulating detected temperatures to cater to temperature fluctuations in the surrounding environment and the hardware itself.
The SASH box is capable of retrieving up-to-date information, for example, COVID-19 cases, from online databases. The team is now developing speech recognition and text-to-voice capabilities in the device to provide easy accessibility for elderly people and people who are visually impaired.
Apart from working as a standalone gadget, the SASH box can also serve as a server and host useful applications for connecting devices. Users can easily retrieve information and monitor the environment in which a SASH box is located (e.g., households, classrooms, elderly homes, clinics, bus/taxi cabinets) in real-time by connecting their mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets from a remote site.
The design of the SASH box also allows ready scalability so that multiple devices can be connected to form a satellite network to facilitate sharing and monitoring of environmental data.
About HKU Faculty of Engineering
The Faculty of Engineering is one of the founding Faculties of The University of Hong Kong established in 1912. Since its foundation, the Faculty has kept pace with developments in the engineering world and is always at the forefront of engineering research, evolving into one of the largest Faculties at the University with five departments providing undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees in a wide range of important fields of modern engineering, technology and computer science.
The Faculty aims at providing an all-round education for students, equipping graduates not only with knowledge of cutting-edge technology but also excellent communication and social skills, an innovation mindset, a lifelong learning attitude, professional integrity and international exposure.
For almost three quarters of 2020, the world was battling a pandemic of a magnitude that has never been witnessed in the history of humankind. Not only individual citizens, but large organisations and governments were caught off guard.
Apart from being surrounded by the threat of getting infected by the virus, citizens’ liberty to move freely in the community was completely lost due to national lockdowns and social distancing measures. There was a colossal drop in the volume of domestic and international air travel, starting in the first months and continuing to the present.
Distressed and perturbed by this captivity and the fast-changing – and sometimes contradictory movement restrictions – got Mohit Sagar, founder and CEO of Access Anywhere, thinking how he could address this problem. He envisioned a solution that would empower citizens to take responsibility for their wellbeing in their own hands.
Taking further steps to convert his vision into reality, Mohit Sagar partnered with industry leaders Microsoft, SAS and Confluent to create a cloud-based solution that gives people real-time risk assessment of their health: Liberty and Passage.
Liberty and Passage is a total outbreak management system application that offers users the ability to continue routine activities like going to work and socialising with friends without compromising their own or the health of those around them.
Mohit acknowledged that the application is based on a give and take relationship where the user gets the gift of liberty by willingly giving up personal health-related information to the app’s database. But significantly, in the current environment of scepticism, he highlighted something which is incredibly unique to this app and makes it more trustworthy – all information received from the user is anonymised at the source.
Mohit was firm in maintaining the privacy of the app’s users and ensuring that their information is secure is a non-negotiable for the team.
Taking about the structure of the app, Mohit shared that the app has three main pillars Liberty Open, Liberty Corporate and Liberty Passage.
Liberty Open in for individual citizens to help them monitor and manage personal risk.
Liberty Corporate offers corporate leadership an opportunity to share the government’s burden by taking the responsibility of their employees’ health. It is designed with the flexibility to be compatible with an organization’s existing infrastructure to check the COVID-19 spread.
Liberty Passage is a solution for travellers and the travel industry that can offer real-time alerts against infections, an immunity passport of sorts for travellers and assistance in immigration processing.
Elaborating on how this app stands out against the plethora of track and trace apps losing trust amongst citizens all around the world, Mohit shared that they are helping citizens retain their freedom during the pandemic by having a very transparent relationship with them. Mohit said “We are not here to police. We anonymise all information at source and make sure that our users are in control of what they want to do.”
He added, “We are not competing with governments but complementing what they are doing.”
About the app hitting the marketing and be available to the users, Mohit shared that they have successfully finished few rounds of Proof of Concept (PoC) with the Vagabond Club, Singapore at two of their locations while a third is underway. With the current success, Mohit is confident that they will be able to make the app available in the market by February 2021.
“Keeping our hotel operating during the pandemic has meant we have had to put in place measures to ensure the safety of our staff and that of our guests that stay here. Liberty Corporate has given us the added confidence and assurance, through its health logs, location software, data insights and risk notifications, that we are doing our utmost to prevent transmission in our hotel.”
Ms Harpreet Bedi, CEO and General Counsel at The Garcha Group
Mohit reiterated, in light of the still increasing number of infections, the discovery of new strains and the absence of an effective cure, the pandemic is here to stay. Their objective is to empower citizens and assist governments in making sure that an individual’s ability to move and mingle freely – the very essence of social beings – is not compromised by any this pandemic nor any future ones.
Taking forward the learnings from a recent cyber attack impacting organisations all across the world, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has rolled out a set of central banking rules to mitigate the technology risks in the financial sector.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) now requires all financial institutions to assess the suppliers of their technology vendors. The updated guidelines apply to all banks, payment services firms such as GrabPay and Singtel Dash, as well as brokerage and insurance firms.
In a typical assessment, suppliers may be asked to prove that their software source code is rigorously tested and they do not use unsafe programming practices. Suppliers may also be asked to reveal their security measures and how often they monitor cyber risks.
Mr Vincent Loy, assistant managing director of technology at MAS, shared that using an external vendor which may, in turn, procure third-party tools brings significant risks to banking systems. “Unknown third-party suppliers are what MAS is most worried about… Financial institutions that do not allocate sufficient financial resources may be more open to unknown third-party suppliers,” he said.
The hacking of Texas-based SolarWinds, a leading provider of IT management software, had subjected hundreds of thousands of firms and government entities around the world to risks. SolarWinds’ IT management tools are common components in the products of many large vendors including Microsoft, FireEye and Cisco Systems.
Mr Tan Yeow Seng, the MAS chief cybersecurity officer, said financial institutions are increasingly reliant on third-party service providers as they adopt new technologies. “The revised guidelines set out MAS’ higher expectations in the areas of technology risk governance and security controls in financial institutions,” he added.
Straits Times reported that an assessment of third-party suppliers was previously not required under the MAS Technology Risk Management (TRM) guidelines, although due diligence on technology vendors was a must. The screening of component suppliers is now clearly spelt out in the revised TRM guidelines, which cover a wide range of topics to help firms fob off and recover from cyber-attacks and system failures.
Risks through the use of open application programming interface (API), a code that lets different applications talk to one another, are also addressed in the newly updated TRM rules. Banks have used APIs to automatically share foreign exchange rates, for example. This has allowed many external developers to build currency conversion apps using the data. Under the revised TRM rules, financial services firms must vet entities that access their APIs by looking at the nature of their business, cybersecurity posture, industry reputation and track record. They must also secure the development of the APIs and encrypt sensitive data transmitted to prevent leaks or hackers injecting malicious codes in the APIs.
In another key change to the TRM guidelines, the board of directors and senior management in financial institutions must vet and approve key technology and cyber-security appointments. “Organisations that do not have a good cyber-security posture usually do not have a board and senior management oversight for IT functions and key appointments,” said Mr Loy, citing findings of the central bank’s own audits.
Last revised in 2013, the TRM guidelines have been updated at a time of increased data sharing that underpins the sector’s digital transformation. The revision took in feedback from a public consultation in 2019 and other expert engagements. The guidelines elaborate on the mandatory requirements set out in the MAS TRM notice, first issued in 2013 and which carries a fine of up to $100,000 for non-compliance under the Banking Act. In the case of a continuing offence, a further fine of up to $10,000 daily may be levied.
Is happiness quantifiable? This is an age-old question that ancient philosophers have tried to answer. Even the meaning of happiness and motivation eludes an exact definition. For utilitarians, happiness is, in its rudimentary sense, the absence of pain and the existence of pleasure. For Aristotle, happiness is the highest good and is closely equated with virtue and purpose, a concept which he referred to as eudaimonia or an activity expressing virtue.
There is still no single meaning of happiness, more so now that the global economy is struggling to adapt to changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the realm of business, most companies are sustaining their momentum in digital transformation. They are scaling up their operational blueprints and adapting to the new normal of implementing remote workstations.
They visualise investments in technology and infrastructure to level up their game. However, many of these organisations delay investing in one key area of the workforce – the mental wellness of their employees, their level of happiness.
An Oxford study shows that a happy worker is 13% more productive. This increased productivity does not just benefit employees; it spills over to company profits and return of investments. Hence, the well-being of employees is equally important as other areas in business operations.
This is the same sentiment that Joye Founder and CEO Sanjeev Magotra lays on the table. Leveraging this perception, he found an innovative method to use artificial intelligence in tapping into the mental well-being of employees.
During an exclusive interview with OpenGov Asia, Sanjeev discussed that they have launched an AI-powered digital service to help map out employees’ level of satisfaction, as well as their emotional and mental state.
Joye was created alongside the company’s vision to attain what Sanjeev referred to as the “10,000-step mental health habit” which is equivalent to taking care of one’s self physically. Joye’s AI is trained to recognise users’ unique situations with extreme privacy, and it will guide you to the right care at the right time.
These suggestions include mood analytics and contextual behaviour tips, podcasts and mindfulness audios. This service tries to understand employees’ feelings through contextual nudges and uses data gathered from these interactions to formulate a plan that would help employees address their life stresses. It also allows them to keep track of their emotional and mental well-being on a daily or weekly basis.
Sanjeev further explained, “Our vision is that when you finish your video conference, and there’s a lot of stress in that video conference, we’ll pop up the Joye button to help you as opposed to staying stressed and becoming unproductive. We’ll help you immediately express yourself, self-reassess yourself and we will give you behavioural nudges to help you immediately turn positive.”
The idea behind the Joye application is not new. Sanjeev said that employers have long realised the importance of investing in employees. Employees have also formulated their routines in keeping themselves emotionally predisposed to life and workplace stresses by hanging onto their support systems and social networks.
What sets apart the Joye application is three-fold. At the outset, Joye is the first company to integrate a voice-enabled interface where individuals can express their feelings. This is in contrast to other apps that rely heavily on chatbots and not on systems that use voice responses.
It is also the first firm to insert this type of programme into a company’s existing mental health and employee engagement apps. Sanjeev said that they are looking at enhancing this feature of the Joye app by embedding it in enterprises’ video conferencing programmes especially during the new normal.
The more important distinction is that while most health platforms bank on mindfulness content or digital therapy and counselling, the Joye app employs a contextual behavioural nudge approach. Sanjeev stressed that “you say what is happening to you and we will tell you what you should do. We try to find out what is happening in your mind and what you should do at that point in time.”
He was quick to add that the Joye application puts a premium on privacy. Although it uses digital methods to gather and analyse employee data, there is still a cloak of anonymity that keeps these data private.
Sanjeev added, “Privacy is an important element of our design. We anonymise the data of the employee immediately after the session is finished, but we will keep the analytics so that the employee can see these data from time to time and that is a good way for the employee to manage their fitness over a period of time.”
Additional challenges during the new normal
The new normal is shaping the way many enterprises work, including looking for innovative ways to run their business workstations. Sanjeev emphasised that remote work opens up additional challenges that piles on top of existing stresses an individual is experiencing. This is where the magic of Joye comes in.
He also mentioned that the mind is the trigger of all actions and behaviour. The scenario is more amplified when working in a remote environment, as there are lots of new stresses and isolation working in the minds of the employees. This, he said, becomes an additional challenge to address.
The Joye application tries to nip future issues in the bud by addressing them at a time when they are small and inconsequential before they balloon into bigger problems that are harder to address.
As the world continues to trudge on during the new normal, some enterprises are adamant in investing in employee support technology like Joye, as they put more value on digital tools that can help streamline their operations. Sanjeev dispelled this notion by saying that investing in employee productivity does wonders to improve profits.
The Founder of Joye explained that: “if we invest in something like this, first of all, it’s a necessity in the remote working environment. Second, this investment has a very good return on investment in terms of improved productivity for the enterprise.”
Sanjeev concluded the discussion by leaving food for thought to employers. He reiterated that ultimately, employees’ mental health and well-being are crucial, more now as enterprises embrace a new remote working environment. To ensure that employees’ well-being is prioritised, Joye offers a quality solution. What differentiates it from other apps is that it helps the whole employee population and not just a small number of employees who are in most need of support. Their tool, he added, is for all 100% of employees who experience stress and anxiety daily and this can be overcome by engaging the workforce through a platform like Joye.