Feeds

Emirates wedges national ID cards inside NFC phones

ID-by-handset to become norm after gov inks deal with Etisalat

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The United Arab Emirates has signed up local operator Etisalat with a view to getting the national ID card embedded into mobile phones.

The memorandum of understanding, signed by the Emirates Identity Authority and Etisalat, sets out a plan for both parties to examine the feasibility of implementing the existing ID Card as an NFC application installed on a mobile phone, meaning that forgetting one's handset wouldn't just be inconvenient, it would be illegal too.

The existing card, which arrived in 2004, uses an ISO7816 chip (same as a credit card) to store encrypted credentials including the holder's name, birthday, gender and photograph, and the 15-digit key to the Population Register which was set up at the same time. Also stored on the chip, but not printed on the card, are the holder's fingerprints.

A phone wouldn't have all those details in human-readable form, printed on the outside, but it would have a short-range radio for relaying them to a reader (complying with the NFC standard), so we'd assume that Etisalat will be pricing up the cost of those readers for the government.

Etisalat has a history of working closely with the UAE government. Back in 2009 the operator sent out a "patch" to all its BlackBerry users that was nothing more than thinly-disguised snoopware. Fortunately the "network upgrade", as Etisalat called it, was so badly written it was flagged almost immediately much to the embarrassment of all involved.

Carrying an ID card in the UAE is mandatory at all times, so once the card is in a mobile then one will have no excuse not to have one handy. That might sound draconian, but it's worth remembering that failing to carry a mobile has already prompted arrests in Germany and France (on the grounds that one must be hiding something).

Once one has digital ID cards, then pushing them into mobile phones is a logical evolution, and the induction-powered NFC (which works when the phone's battery is dead) is a suitable technology, as UAE residents should soon find out. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.