Apple seeks NFC digital identity patent

Apple NFC digital identity patent figure
DIGITAL IDENTITY: One type of system proposed by Apple for authenticating a user with a mobile device

Apple has applied for a patent for a user authentication framework that would allow users to store digital identity documents such as their passport, driving licence and national ID card and present them for verification on their NFC-enabled iPhone or other mobile device.

The application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) lays out how various embodiments of the framework could use technologies including NFC, RFID and biometrics to import and authenticate digital ID documents in a secure element (SE) within a mobile device.

“In such an embodiment, when the user presents the mobile device to a corresponding reader attempting to authenticate the user, the mobile device may attempt to verify the identity of the user (eg, via a biosensor in the mobile device in some embodiments) before permitting the secure element to provide the identification information to the reader,” the application for a user authentication framework patent states.

“For example, in one embodiment, the secure element is configured to store information present in a passport issued to the user.

“Accordingly, when the user is passing through a customs checkpoint, the user may present the mobile device to a reader operated by a customs agent.

“After the mobile device authenticates the user’s identity, the secure element may convey the passport information to the reader.

“In some instances, being able to authenticate using a mobile device may help expedite establishing an identity of [a] user and provide the convenience of performing an authentication without presenting the identification document.”

The application comes after the USPTO granted Apple a patent for identity credential verification techniques to improve “data security with respect to data collection, verification, and authentication techniques associated with obtaining and transmitting identity information [including] biometric input methods”.

The company was also granted a patent earlier this month showing how Apple Pay could automatically select a card based on the user’s location.

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