Feeds

Germans radio tag ID cards and phones

Have they not seen Lives of Others?

The essential guide to IT transformation

German telcos are planning to trial NFC payment stickers next year, though from next month every German ID card will contain a radio tag able to secure internet commerce.

The Germans have gone ahead and radio-enabled their ID Cards, with every card issued after 1 November containing an RFID chip capable of providing a digital signature for securing internet commerce. All this renders unsurprising the news (reported by NFC Times) that German network operators are planning to deploy sticker-based NFC tags based on their existing mpass system.

Mpass is the operator-backed brand run by Paybox, who launched a pay-by-mobile system in 1999 (your correspondent even managed to pay for a restaurant meal using the service a decade ago). These days it's limited to securing internet transactions by confirming the details over SMS, but NFC Times reports that Vodafone and O2 are planning to supply stickers for attaching to the back of mobile phones and taking mpass into the real world.

Which is probably a good thing when the German ID card is set to become the default mechanism for securing internet transactions, once it has an RFID chip embedded in it.

RFID Journal reports that the German government plans to hand out 1.2 million RFID card readers, for use by German citizens who want to be able to identify themselves over the internet. But those terminals are pretty basic, using the computer keyboard to collect the PIN (and thus open to keyloggers and the like) and to be used for identification rather than authentication. More advanced, "comfort" readers will be subsidised - these have a separate keypad and can be used to cryptographically sign electronic documents, enabling secure electronic commerce.

Security concerns are apparently addressed by government promises that only authorised companies will be able to use ID Card verification - so that's OK then.

But security isn't at the heart of the decision by Vodafone and O2 to expand mpass into retailing. The service hasn't proved particularly popular as it is, and direct competition from a government-backed (and subsidised) scheme will take away whatever success mpass has had. So the only options for the network operators at the moment are to get into retail or call it a day. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.