Apple looks into replacing physical IDs with digital credentials on iPhone, Apple Car

Apple has applied for two patents titled “Identity Credential Verification Techniques” that discuss the possibility of replacing traditional driver’s licenses and passports with a digital alternative, writes Apple Insider. The tech company is looking into methods for iPhone or Apple Car owners to safely keep their identity details and, if necessary, securely transmit them to government agencies to confirm identity.

“Having sound security procedures that collect only what information is necessary and securely communicating the information is paramount to maintaining a person’s privacy rights as well as guarding against misuse of a person’s personal information,” read the applications.

“[These patents regard], among other things, improving data security with respect to data collection, verification, and authentication techniques associated with obtaining and transmitting identity information,” it continues.

The company says government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Motor Vehicles could be involved in the identity creation process. A method could be digitally signing a credential with a private key that only the DMV would have access to verify. The credential could even be obtained by the user electronically and used to send the information to another user, such as law enforcement. Another example given is of a police officer who could use an iPhone to request the driver’s ID, who in turn can request the officer’s details. The information exchange would happen over their iPhones.

According to Apple Insider, Japan, the UK and Germany have already looked into replacing physical IDs and passports with an iPhone-based method.

“Identity, to be legal, it has to be government, it has to be authenticated by the government,” said Apple Pay Vice President Jennifer Bailey. “We see, across the globe, many countries starting to use mobile to add a passport. You may use a mobile passport when you’re going through airports today, and so it is moving and I think it will continue.”

Apple was recently granted a patent for its Apple Ring smart wearable with biometric authentication from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and 64 other patents, including one for an Apple TV remote with biometric features such as Touch ID to prevent kids from accessing inappropriate content at home.

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