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Apple joins NFC secure element standards body

Apple has joined GlobalPlatform, the organisation responsible for defining standards for the secure elements used to store sensitive data in NFC phones. The move means that, when and if Apple provides developers with access to the secure element in its new NFC devices, it is likely to do so in a way that is compatible with the international standards already used by other secure NFC service providers.


“Apple has joined GlobalPlatform as a full member,” Kevin Gillick, GlobalPlatform’s executive director, told NFC World+. “This level of membership offers Apple the broadest possible opportunity to participate in our organization.

“Full members can access GlobalPlatform’s sector-specific task force initiatives, as well as all three technical committees — the card, device and systems committees. This enables engagement in the evolution of the full suite of GlobalPlatform specifications and their associated compliance programs.

“As with all full members, Apple is free to pursue leadership positions in the organization, through election to a seat on the board of directors or the chairmanship of one of the committees or working groups.”

The NFC functionality in the new iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch is currently locked down so that it can only be used by Apple Pay. The company took a similar approach when it launched its Touch ID fingerprint security in 2013. It then went on to open up Touch ID to developers this year and NFC access is expected to follow the same path, with developers likely to be able to gain access in 2015.

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