News Flash: Apple Explores Support for Official ID Checks

Two patents outline how citizens could use iPhones to share selected ID info with officials


Apple has filed two patents outlining how iPhone owners could selectively share identity credentials with government and law enforcement officials as required.  The filings explain how a government agency, such as the US Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), could use the system, according to a report by Apple Insider. “By way of example, the DMV may provision a credential that includes a person’s driver’s license information,” the filings note. “In some embodiments, the credential may be digitally signed by using a private key of the DMV such that the identity credential may be verified using a public key associated with the DMV.”

Having stopped a vehicle, a police officer could use a iPhone to scan the license plate and request the driver’s ID. The request would be accompanied by the officer’s own ID. If the driver accepts the officer’s credentials, he or she could then supply the requested information via their iPhone. The patent application notes: “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.”

Although Apple’s existing ID system is widely used within its ecosystem to support transactions through Apple Pay and other services, the tech giant has acknowledged the need for iPhones to also support official forms of ID. “Identity, to be legal, it has to be government, it has to be authenticated by the government,” Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey has said, according to the Apple Insider report. Reporting its financial results, Apple said Apple Pay was used for more than three billion transactions in the quarter ending September 29th.


For more information, see the report from Apple Insider here.