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Cut the card: Smartphone service to provide digitized ID

Government seeks digital transformation in public service, social welfare programs

With a view to enhance the efficiency of public services, the government said Tuesday citizens will soon be able to store digital versions of their important documents, including identification cards, in smartphones for verification.

During a joint press briefing in Seoul, the Ministry of Interior and Safety and other related agencies announced extensive plans for the digital transformation. The government pledged to use advanced technology in improving its public services and social welfare programs.

Capitalizing on artificial intelligence, cloud computing and other advanced technologies, the government said it will offer tailored services for the public by giving them more access to the personal data stored in its current system.

“In the era of digital transformation, it is time for the government to take its public service to a new level,” Interior Minister Chin Young said during the briefing, which was also attended by ICT Minister Choi Ki-young and other high-profile government officials. 

The participants said they will spend about 725 billion won ($622 million) for the government’s digital transformation initiative by 2022. Some 203 billion won is expected to be allocated for the next year’s budget, though it is subject to change after deliberation, they added

Interior Minister Chin Young(right) announces the government`s digital transformation initiative during a press breifing in Seoul. Ministry of Interior and Safety
Interior Minister Chin Young(right) announces the government`s digital transformation initiative during a press breifing in Seoul. Ministry of Interior and Safety

Regarding mobile identification, the government said it will launch a service where people can store various ID documents in mobile wallets. By the end of this year, smartphone users can submit their household register certificates to the authorities without carrying documents.

The government also said it will accelerate its efforts to replace plastic ID cards with electronic certificates stored in smartphones. By 2021, the mobile platforms will carry up to 300 types of ID certificates.

The move is in line with the efforts to develop an integrated ID verification app by the country’s tech companies, mobile carriers and financial firms. Once the app is released as a pilot service this year, it can be used for simplifying ID verification in the financial transactions and hiring process.

“Compared with plastic ID cards, smartphone-based digital residence cards are more secure and convenient,” the government said in a statement. “Starting from ID cards for public workers, we will expand its application incrementally.”

The government’s efforts to transform its public services with digital devices is also intended to improve the public welfare system. Through smartphones, AI speakers and computers, people will be notified about their benefits without visiting relevant agencies.

According to the government, the people will learn about welfare benefits and procedures from birth to death once they apply for the digital notification service. By 2022, the information will include benefits in seeking jobs and building companies, among other things.

If the users agree to provide more personal data for extensive services, the welfare notification system can provide more specific information, such as how much they can borrow money for purchasing a house, the government said.

“Based on age, income, property and other personal information, the government will periodically determine whether they are eligible for social security benefits and proactively support citizens through inter-agency cooperation,” the government said.


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