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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?