Apple has filed a patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a digital identity credential system that would enable users to securely store and present documents such as their passport or driving licence digitally on their electronic and mobile devices.
The Controlled Identity Credentials Release patent describes how a technology that enables “controlled methods of releasing, or providing the user’s digital identity credentials” could operate in different use cases.
“In one example, the user’s identity credential is displayed on the user’s device while the user’s device remains in the locked state,” the patent says. “In this manner, the user can provide their device to a third party (eg, TSA personnel and/or security checkpoint personnel), without compromising the security/privacy of the user’s data stored on the device.
“Alternatively or in addition to displaying the identity credential, the identity credential may be wireless transmitted to a terminal device of the governmental authority, such as via NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Aware etc.”
The patent also identifies situations where “the device of a first responder, such as police officer, firefighter etc may have its own digital credential that authorises the first responder to automatically receive the user’s identity credential when in proximity to the user’s device”.
It also states that there are cases where “the identity credential of the user may be provided/displayed in conjunction with another credential, such as a payment credential of the user, or an identity credential of a minor associated with the user (such as a child)”.
In addition, the patent explains how, in some situations, “the identity credential may be presented with only a portion of the information on the identity credential visible (such as the user’s name and birth date for proof of age), and/or by providing a processed response to a request for information (eg ‘yes’ or ‘no’) based on information contained in the user’s identity credential”.
The patent was originally filed in April 2020 and was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month.