The GDC Blog
The island nation of Singapore is known for many things. Specifically, it is a “melting pot” of sorts including a mixture of cultures, languages, alphabets and nationalities. The city state is known for its cuisine, especially for its famous dish, the “chili crab.” Just like the food, the people are a fusion of all who come to reside there – Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and the list goes on. One thing is for certain, the needs for identity verification are as dynamic and diverse as the cultures. For those of you looking for the best places for “chili crab” in Singapore you can look here.
First, let’s take the Singapore national ID card. The ID card represents the melding of peoples in the way it represents individual’s identity attributes. Document validation, to verify identity, will tell you accurately that the format is correct (but not necessarily verified). When a National ID/Passport scan or image is sent to the Document Validation provider they perform an automated analysis checking the validity of the information on the document ensuring the information makes sense and goes together, and that none of the images or data is forged. A Document Validation service provider may check the following data points:
- Full Name
- Date of Birth
- Document Expiration Date
- Passport MRZ (Machine Readable Zone – two 44 character rows that convey the data on the Passport)
- In the case of Singapore, the national ID includes elements very like a passport given the nature of the multicultural country.
- Full Name – English then Native
- Race – Example Chinese
- Birth Date
- Country of Birth – China, Singapore
Document Validation providers may also check characteristics of a document to ensure it has not been forged or altered. This can include checking the background print, micro text, whether the document photo has been replaced, whether the fonts used are consistent and correct, and other authenticity checks. These checks generally require manual review and often supplement automatic checks of the document data points.
However, verifying the data associated with a National ID against trusted sources is a different matter. For example, let’s look at one of the elements on the National Registration Identity Card – race. Surprisingly, Singapore allows TWO RACES in accordance with their race diversity disclosures.
This is called “double-barreling” which applies to all babies born as of January 1st, 2011. The ID card represents the melding of peoples in the way it represents race.
Here’s how it works. Your race must be a logical combo of your mom’s and dad’s races. e.g. Malay-German or Malay-Caucasian. The race in front is regarded as the dominant one e.g. in the above example, “Malay” is the dominant race. All siblings from the same parents must have the same race, if the kid gets married to someone else of mixed parentage, only the dominant race counts for both.
Next, let’s examine the card and how it represents the melding of peoples in the way it represents names. If you are of origin in another country – perhaps China, but have a Latin English name you will see both the English name and the Chinese name listed on the card in the order – English to Chinese. In other cases, the name may only be the traditional Chinese name, and it can vary and exposes a challenge of using only document verification.
Name and race are two examples of the challenges of validating identity using document checks without electronic identity verification.
The best solution is to combine document validation/authentication (Doc check) and electronic identity verification (eIDV). This both checks the characteristics of the document and the accuracy of the data on it. Combining Doc check with eIDV check for countries like Singapore will allow you to accurately and correctly verify one’s identity.