National digital ID gets pilot testing in January
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National digital ID gets pilot testing in January

Scheme to go public within five months

The TMB mobile app's facial recognition system lets customers open accounts using their smartphones.
The TMB mobile app's facial recognition system lets customers open accounts using their smartphones.

After several delays, the national digital ID service will be available to the public in the next 3-5 months after undergoing testing, says cybersecurity specialist Bhume Bhumiratana.

Speaking at the "Blockchain for Sustainable Development Goals" forum yesterday, Mr Bhume said the national digital ID will be launched in a "limited pilot phase" among bank staff in January and then go public soon after.

"Digital ID will enable users to have a new feature for mobile banking, by which the banks are identity platforms," he said. "Once you make a transaction with other financial companies, it can be performed with digital ID, without requiring any documents." He said users can enjoy the service with more than one bank, with only one digital ID.

The national ID team has been working with the Digital Government Development Agency, the Bank of Thailand, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Revenue Department, and talks have begun with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

Mr Bhume acknowledged that the initial phase will need monitoring to prevent fraud, but if there is more collaboration among government agencies, the Provincial Administration Department in particular, the system will be strengthened and create a space that has not been addressed by the department.

National digital ID helps facilitate online transactions and ensure security for users. The service will enable banks to expand their account base through digital lending via the internet and smartphones at a rapid pace.

With digital ID, banks can verify customer identity with greater convenience and security through electronic Know Your Customer technology, which will subsequently foster growth in digital loans and offer attractive interest rate offers, depending on borrowers' risk profile, which will be assessed using data analytics.

Blockchain has been used as a critical component of the national digital ID, particularly for identity authentication, Mr Bhume said.

"Each individual is currently centralised, and we will decentralise the system with blockchain," he said, adding that blockchain will help identify who knows whom.

The national digital ID team is also in discussions with the Education Ministry.

"When the service is launched, there will be better understanding," Mr Bhume said.

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