News Flash: Digital ID Now Widespread in South East Asia

World Bank report says half of ASEAN members have digital foundational ID systems

Five of the 10 members states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have now fully digitised their foundational identity systems: multi-purpose ID credentials that are universally available to their citizens. That is one of the findings in a report by The World Bank analysing the digital economy in South East Asia, which describes the provision of digital ID as “one of the most important areas of digital government that supports the growth of the digital economy”.

The five countries with digital ID systems – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – have established an associated public key infrastructure (PKI) to help keep them secure. The World Bank noted that Thailand’s Digital ID Platform is designed to also support citizens of other ASEAN countries, which means they will be able to authenticate themselves for online transactions with Thailand-based firms and government agencies.

Of the remaining five ASEAN members, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam are currently piloting digitized foundational ID systems, while Myanmar has listed the development of a digital ID system as one of 12 priorities in its national economic policy. The Philippines, the only ASEAN member state without a foundational ID system, enacted legislation in July 2018 to establish one.  It is planning to begin nationwide registration of a digital ID system – to be known as PhilSys – in 2019.

Meanwhile, the UK government has announced the creation of a new Digital Identity Unit, to ensure the adoption of interoperable standards, specifications and schemes. It says that 20 government services are now connected to its Verify system and that the number of citizens using it to access services increased by one million between October 2018 and April 2019.

For more information, please see the World Bank report and the UK Government announcement