According to the latest research, one of the most consistent predictors of trust across Southeast Asia is the perception of the service provider’s integrity.
New findings in the digital financial services industry by the Tech for Good Institute have shown that the service provider’s integrity, not just in terms of being honest but also ensuring social justice and having sound principles, are in the spotlight.
In Southeast Asia, trust in technology does not necessarily mean complete trust. Winning public trust for the tech sector in this region is not just about coding and security. Organizations need to manifest integrity in all their strategies, processes, and services.
SGTech, the trade association for Singapore’s tech industry, has defined digital trust as: “the confidence participants have in the digital ecosystem to interact securely, in a transparent, accountable, and frictionless manner.”
The association propounds that building digital trust will involve both technologies – including Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), Privacy Enhancing Technologies, and Governance, Risk, & Compliance technologies. Trust needs to be imbibed into social, political, legal, economic, environmental, and ethical considerations.
The Need for Digital Identification
Digital identification technology is at the heart of the debate here. Across Southeast Asia, countries have started to develop national digital identification systems using technology such as biometrics and face verification.
Implementing such technologies can increase the efficacy of existing enterprise processes and bring down the cost of services. The most popular example is “know your customer” (KYC) for financial services.
Personal ID digitization will also enable uncommon business models. Alternative data, such as bill payments or online shopping transactions, can be used to develop credit risk models for individuals and small businesses.
Experts say that digital identification technology will continue to evolve, and national digital ID systems will be integrated into a plethora of systems, including healthcare, social welfare, and examinations. Futuristically speaking, digital identification will also facilitate virtual interactions, assets, and business in general.
Industry analysts state that around 25% of people will be spending at least an hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, or social media by 2026. Digital identification systems will impact governance, industry standards, and interoperability across jurisdictions. In fact, they will become central to maintaining trust in these systems.
A likely use case would be the governance and standards of biometric passports involving multiple international organizations, including the International Organization for Standardization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
SEA Is Working On Building Trustworthy Data Models
There has been some progress in this direction. In Southeast Asia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Model Contractual Clauses for data transfers coordinate and harmonize data regulatory policies.
The region is also working towards an ASEAN Trust Mark Scheme for e-commerce to boost the confidence of digital consumers. ASEAN is also developing policies for a Unique Business Identification Number system to support companies with cross-border trade, market expansion, and better access to financing in the region. This will be vital for small and medium enterprises to grow.
Winning public trust in digital identification technology will require public and private sector initiatives for collaboration and harmonization of systems.
Digital ID systems should also be designed to be inclusive, especially when they become necessary for public services such as welfare programs, assistance grants, and healthcare.