“Apple has considered the possibility of using the iPhone as a form of identification for the user, with one proposed onboard secure storage system using RFID having the potential to use a smartphone as an alternative to a passport for travelers at ports,” Malcolm Owen reports for AppleInsider. “Filed to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on March 30 and published on Thursday, the patent application for ‘Document importation into secure element’ describes how such a system could import credential data from a source. The same credentials could then be provided to an authority challenging the identity of the device owner as a form of proof.”

“The described electronic device has a short-range radio, namely RFID or NFC, and a secure element for holding data, as well as the ability to process data. Using RFID, the device acquires a ‘portion of credential information’ from an identification document issued by an authority, such as a driving license or a membership card,” Owen reports. “Once acquired, the device then issues a radio-based request to the issuing authority, triggering the authority to request the required credential portion. Once delivered then approved by the authority, the device then stores the acquired credentials in a secure element.”

“In future identification challenges, the device will be asked for the credentials by the authority, triggering the device to perform an authentication check with the user. While this could be as simple as entering a password, there is also a version that uses biometric security for the device-based authentication,” Owen reports. “In either case, successful authentication on the device would hand over data to the requesting party.”

Much more,including Apple’s patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

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