Feeds

Emirates wedges national ID cards inside NFC phones

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

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
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.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.