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Combating identity theft and fraud with e-ID and Digital ID in ASEAN

Jimmy Ang, Field Marketing Director, Government Programs, Asia, Gemalto | Feb. 10, 2015
Jimmy Ang from Gemalto discusses how the e-ID can protect the citizen’s rights and prevent identity theft, as well as the benefits that digital ID on mobile devices can bring to the people.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

With the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, ASEAN borders will become increasingly porous to facilitate freer travel and trade. However, this will present a greater challenge to the border agencies in preventing illegal immigrants, terrorists, and criminals from entering their countries. Governments in ASEAN will need to simplify travel procedures for their lawful citizens, without compromising on security. They will also need to modernize their citizen's identity document so that they can be protected from identity thefts.

Besides safeguarding identities, ASEAN countries will also need to look at integrating digital identities on the mobile platform as more and more people are depending on their mobiles for their day-to-day activities. This will allow citizens to access different services while on the move, providing enhanced convenience and user experience. 

Securing Personal Identity Electronically

The primary functions of an identity document are to protect the citizen's rights and prevent identity theft. The e-ID solutions are able to provide an effective means of identity checking through two different levels of verification. The information visible on the card enables enforcement agencies to perform a visual face-to-face identification, while the digital data in the chip allows automatic identification through scanning and cross-checks against the information in the country's database. The embedded microchip provides additional authentication and signature functions, which is an enhancement from traditional ID cards designed only for identification purpose. The chip also contains a digital authentication certificate that electronically proves the identity of the cardholder when the user places the card in a reader and keys in a PIN code - just like one does for a banking card. A second certificate can add an authentic electronic signature to the electronic documents, allowing citizens to generate a unique signature for the document with their PIN.  These eID cards are also tamper-proof as they include advanced security features, including digital watermarking that is invisible to naked eyes. With a combination of secure measures in place, e-ID solutions can improve citizenship enforcement and immigration control as well as significantly reduce average handling time.

Many ASEAN countries are already setting up national e-ID initiatives, including the Malaysian ID card, MyKad, which is the world's first nationwide multi-application electronic ID card. Besides being an identity card, Malaysians can use MyKad to withdraw money, pay for public transport and access e-government services. According to the Smart Insights, the ASEAN market is set to deliver more than 350 million eID cards by 2017. This is a testament of the aggressive developments that ASEAN governments are implementing to equip their citizens with a secure identity, increasing the trust between citizens and their governments.


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