Photo: iStock / SpVVK

Photo: iStock / SpVVK

Google is Bringing Electronic IDs to Android

– Venture Beat

Venture Beat unpicks Google’s recent announcements on digital identification services and data encryption

Following on from Google’s 2019 developer conference, Venture Beat discusses two major announcements regarding digital ID and data privacy. At the event, Google revealed both that they are working on developing electronic ID capabilities for Android devices and that all future devices will provide users with full data encryption.

Author, Emil Protalinski, explains the implications of Google’s announcement on electronic ID:

"Wallet apps can replace plane tickets, loyalty cards, and credit cards, but they still can’t pass for valid ID. Google is looking to add Electronic ID support so developers can build mobile apps that can be securely used as an ID. This isn’t as simple as it sounds."

Protalinski goes on to explain that there are several key challenges obstructing Google’s mission to support electronic identification software. Both policy issues and technology limitations currently stand in the way. For Google’s ID platform to work optimally, it would need to meet a series of international standards. However, these standards are still under development. What’s more, the hardware does not currently exist to support powered-off use. Google’s digital ID service would need to operate even if a user’s electronic device was without power. Hardware innovation is needed so that ID can be stored on a separate, secure element within the device.

All of this, Protalinski concludes, means that Google’s digital ID devices are still some way away. However, the piece ends with a more immediate development: universal encryption on all future Androids. While Google’s lower-end smartphones and devices were previously exempt from offering users default storage encryption, all future devices will be encrypted as standard: "no exceptions."

Replacing ID cards, such as driver’s licenses and club memberships, has been the last major piece of the digital wallet puzzle

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