Nowadays it seems as though you can do practically everything on your phone. What used to be predominantly for calling your friends and family can now order your food shopping, help you lose weight, enable you to run a business, and even pay for things in stores. There really does appear to be an app for everything. Now, a 200-year-old company is trying to replace passports with your mobile phone.
Oesterreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding AG
They may be a bit of a mouthful to say, but this company has been in business for over 200 years. Based in Austria, OeSD was started back in 1804 as a printing company. In order to stay ahead of the trends, they concentrated their efforts on technology back in the early 2000’s; in particular chips for passports. Over the last three or four years, OeSD moved their focus once again, concentrating more on mobile apps and writing code. It’s with this experience and desire to push things forward that the idea came for a mobile passport.
The idea of using your smartphone as a form of ID isn’t exactly new, as governments around the world have been trialling the idea for some time. However, currently, you’d need one app to replicate your driver’s license and another to get through airport security. There is also worries that these apps aren’t secure enough, which is why they haven’t been rolled out around the globe. OeSD has been working on a software for the last couple of years that could handle every single type of identification safely and securely. Not only that but if things continue at this rate then it could be due for release in 2017. With everything else moving towards a ‘smarter’ version, it only makes sense that ID does the same.
Pros and Cons
Hands up if you have ever lost an important piece of identification? Normally your passport or driver’s license. OeSD have said in various interviews how commonplace it is for people to lose or damage those vital pieces of paper, only to have to fork out a fortune when they need replacing. What if you could have an app on your phone with all of that vital information on it? You could get through airport security simply by swiping your mobile, just like you can buy things in a shop using Apple Pay. “My Identity App” as it has been dubbed simply requires a device for each person (the one showing the ID and the one checking it). There will also be a central hub which stores the information. Data will then be pulled from the cloud as and when it is needed, ensuring that details stay secure. You can also choose what kind of information can be shown, depending on whether you’re trying to get into a bar or boarding a plane.
OeSD are adamant that security is one of their number one priorities, but there are obviously those who are dubious of the concept. After all, if the central hub were to be broken into then everyone could effectively have their details stolen. There’s also the issue of whether governments would actually adopt this new technology or decide it is too easy to hack. Would it be easier to hack into a computer to add your fake details than it is to fake an ID card? Possibly. However, if OeSD could prove that their app is as secure as can be, we don’t see why passports won’t soon be replaced by your phone.