The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently announced that Apple is currently applying for a patent that is an identification system and certification that can be used to authenticate users. Apple hopes to turn the iPhone into a new generation of e-passports, allowing iPhone users to go abroad without a passport.

In this patent application, it is described how the system imports credential data from a source. The same credentials can then be provided to the authority that challenges the identity of the device owner as a proof. The electronic device described above has a short range radio—— RFID or NFC, and a secure element for storing data and processing data.

Using RFID, the device can obtain “partial credential information” from an identification document issued by an authority, such as a driver’s license or membership card. Once the certificate is obtained, the device issues a request to the authority (based on the radio technology) to trigger the portion of the credentials required for the authorization request. Once submitted and approved by the authority, the device will store the credentials in a secure element.

Most of today’s e-passports are based on RFID chips because they store user names, birthdays and other information. When the passenger is preparing for customs and security inspection, the immigration official can put the electronic passport on the RFID reader to read the information, and then confirm whether the identity is consistent with the passenger according to the data certificate in the internal database.

The iPhone currently has the necessary radio technology (NFC) and security data for storing fingerprints and facial data collected through Touch and Face ID. However, if it is used as a passport, it will involve many security considerations such as national security, personal data confidentiality and anti-counterfeiting. In order to operate without a passport, Apple needs the support of countries on both sides of the border.

Apple submits a large number of patent applications to the USPTO every week, but this does not guarantee that the submitted ideas will enter commercial products. Even though most of the components required for this system are ready.