Your Phone Could Become Your Universal ID And Debit Card

Yesterday we were discussing a governmental proposal to eliminate a need for passwords, and today there is news about Apple and Google with their own plans. These plans would make your phone a universal ID and also incorporate the phone as your debit card. Now picture this if you will. You walk into a public place to use a computer and all you have to do is place your phone next to the computer. You are automatically logged in and you can safely buy online, do your banking or other financial transactions without fear. Even if a bad guy tries to access your information later from the same system, it would be impossible.

You go out to your car and just push the start button. Your car talks to your phone and confirms it is you, and the vehicle starts. Stopping at your local 7-11 just got easier as well since to make a purchase you just to need to swipe your phone across a scanner. Owe someone a few bucks? No problem. Just type in the amount you owe them and place your phones together for an instant auto transfer of funds.

Does all of this sound like it is a futuristic idea? Think again. According to one recent article Apple and Google are in the process of implementing just such a system.

The magic happens when you can combine a biometric ID system (which uses some kind of scan from a smart phone to verify that you’re actually in possession of the device) with a secure short-distance wireless communication technology that other devices (cash registers, PCs etc.) can read.

That’s right boys and girls,  your phone will rule your life. By adding a single additional chip to your phone and maybe a fingerprint scanner, you would have a secure system in theory. So if a hacker wants to break into your phone they would need to cut your fingers off. Sounds secure to me. :-)

Yes, I am being factious.

A retinal scan may be a better option.

But before you start to lose any sleep over these proposals, there is going to be a need for standards. There is also a need to provide a safe system that also addresses privacy concerns. Plus there will be a need to coordinate all of this with a banking system, that might not be willing to spend money on new technologies to implement a new system.

What do you think? Would you be willing to use such a system, if and when it became available?

Comments welcome.

Source – Computerworld

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I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

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  • Dick

    Don’t own a cell phone. No chance.

    Why does mark of the beast come to mind?

    • Ron Schenone

      Hi Dick,
      I thought the same thing when I first read this. :-(

  • zman

    This would be incredibly expensive, i’m sure of that. If Google has any part in this, there goes my privacy. Also, knowing Google and Apple, this could be put in to place to please the Obama Administration which could lead to this whole thing being at least moderated by the government which I personally do not trust. I don’t want this whether it is initially optional or not because it will become popular and then be made mandatory. This and everything else the Government and the Corporations have been doing lately, makes me very angry as it is obvious that they want to control us through the internet. We can learn something from the Egyptians, a corrupt government must be terminated!

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  • Stephen Wilson – Lockstep

    Hmm … biometric utopia!

    This kinda speculation has really got to be tempered until such time as the fatal problem with all biometrics is solved: once compromised, they can’t be re-issued. As much as we all loath the password, at least a password can be revoked and re-issued when compromised.

    There’s occasional talk about “revokable biometrics”, but they’re not yet out of the research lab, let alone productised, tested and certified as a mature security technology.

    The CW article paints a picture that we’re just not ready for. It’s almost irresponsible. The public’s expectations of biometrics are formed by SCI FI movies! And then they’re further misguided by the biometric industry’s chronically optimistic specs. Vendors are reluctant to publish their products’ error rates; when they do, they are invariably measured under the “Zero Effort Imposter” assumption. That means only accidental errors are counted. Vendor testing ignores the possibility of the determined attack that an actual criminal would mount.

    Let’s all heed the advice of the FBI on biometrics in general: “The technologies do not have known error rates outside of a controlled test environment” (Ref:

    Commodity biometric readers are comically easy to spoof. Even the very best fingerprint readers can be consistently tricked by replica fingers carefully made from gelatin. Putting the humble cell phone front and centre of a single Internet ID is simply nuts.

  • Buffet

    My cell phone(s) already monopolize more of my time than I like. I LONG for a single day I could simply just turn it off. Being a business owner, it’s no longer an option. Alas.

    • Ron Schenone

      Hi Buffet,
      I hear you.

  • Dustin Shadbolt

    i’m sorry if it ever came to this I wouldn’t do it. It’s just to much technology. Heck I still own a simple cell phone that just sends text messages and places calls. That’s all a phone should do. Again kind of creepy that it falls under the bible prophecy as well. :