In terms of digital documents, Brazil until it is well advanced: we already have official applications for the driver’s license / document, the voter’s title and the work card, all with legal value.
Other countries are still crawling in this direction, but Apple seems to be wanting to take an important step – not only to put users’ documents on the iPhone, but to to transform the iPhone in those documents.
The idea is registered in a series of patents recently registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, described as a means to “offer verified proof of user identity”.
In other words, Apple envisions a world where its mobile devices would be endowed with technologies so that, natively, they could be accepted as forms of legal identification – effectively replacing identity cards, passports, driver licenses and other personal documents.
Strictly speaking, Apple does not mention the iPhone (or any of its products) in patents: the descriptions mention generic mobile devices that could transmit information to terminals, proving the user’s identity through biometric systems. In other words, you could use your iPhone (or Apple Watch) at an airport immigration desk, for example – it would be enough to authenticate the smartphone via Face / Touch ID and bring it to the agent’s terminal, almost like an “Apple Pay of documents ”.
As we are talking about Apple, patents naturally describe ways to protect the user’s identity, transmitting only the essential information for that protocol in question (so your driver data would not be transmitted at an immigration window, for example).
Obviously, everything here is still only in the world of ideas: Apple (like every technology company) files thousands of patents every year, and not all of them become real products or resources. Still, the idea makes a lot of sense – especially considering Apple’s efforts to replace your wallet with the iPhone, either with your credit cards or your car keys. The documents would therefore be a natural extension of that process.
It would be great, wouldn’t it?