MobIDBy Rob Haslam, HID Global.

Governments worldwide have a duty to protect the identity and personal data of their citizens and at the same time, citizens today expect easier, more convenient and more accessible services. As citizens’ experience with mobile technology increases, their expectations expand. Not surprisingly, governments have begun to view citizens as consumers — understanding the need to deliver services that can enhance life with an emphasis on convenience, efficiency and cost-savings.

While mobile phones and readers are increasingly present in commercial transactional environments such as renting cars, retail shopping and ticketing, large-scale mobile applications have been far more limited in Government ID programs — until now.

Mobile IDs are Here!

Smartphones are literally everywhere. And their capabilities are increasing all the time, improving citizens’ experiences – and heightening expectations – in so many areas of their lives. In parallel, we are seeing new secure mobile ID technologies — including software – for chip-based credentials and mobile devices. For the first time, Governments have an unprecedented opportunity to provide citizens with the same conveniences found in the private sector while using mobile technology to leap-frog historical infrastructure and economic barriers to delivering secure ID programs.

Governmental organizations worldwide are poised to reap the rewards of mobility (flexibility, real-time access to information, confident interaction with citizens) and multi-function ID, while reaching the required levels of security for confident mobile ID issuance and authentication. Initially, these innovations will be particularly helpful to government agencies out in the field, such as law enforcement.

So what is a Mobile ID?

A mobile ID is a government-issued identification credential that is provisioned securely on to a smartphone. This marks a new era in which citizens will be able to conveniently use their smartphone as their secure trusted ID.

What makes HID Global’s approach different is that it builds upon an existing ecosystem with the company’s proven Seos® credential technology at the heart of the solution. Seos is a cryptographic infrastructure technology that has been developed to enable a mobile experience.

It also enables mobile IDs to be securely provisioned onto smartphones and other mobile devices, turning smart devices into trusted credentials for accessing office buildings, hotel rooms and residences. For instance, HID Global’s Seos technology is embedded in Starwood Group’s Preferred Guest application. Today there are hundreds of thousands of hotel guests using the application to access their hotel room via a virtual key on their smartphone. HID Global is using this same proven platform in its HID goID™ solution.

Mobile IDs Simplify Lives, Making Identity Easy

HID goID makes it possible for governments to have a closer relationship with citizens – whether the citizen interaction is with law enforcement, motor vehicle agencies, educational institutions, or border patrol officials. For instance, mobile driver’s licenses will provide additional benefits and advantages to both governments and citizens above and beyond the physical driver’s license.


Beyond the obvious advantage of convenience – not having to carry a physical driver’s license – a mobile driver’s license also allows citizens to protect critical information. For example, when a citizen goes to a liquor store or a bar they only need to provide their photo and an age indicator that they’re of the correct age – none of the other personal information loaded on a physical driver’s license needs to be shared.

Or today, we might use a national ID or driver’s license at the airport for in-country travel but carry our boarding pass on a phone or piece of paper. With mobile ID technology, the two converge – providing greater security, convenience and flexibility for both the citizen and the authenticating party. Rather than in wallets, IDs can now be securely stored on smartphones.


For law enforcement officials, HID goID driver’s licenses allow police to engage with citizens from a distance for increased safety and security. HID goID is also quicker, and can provide police with access to more real-time information – such as criminal back- ground, insurance information or motor vehicle violations – to create a more successful exchange of information between two parties.

For government agencies issuing physical driver’s licenses, mobile driver’s licenses will allow them to do their jobs better and easier. With mobile IDs, citizens can update their information remotely without coming into the central office thus combating the dreaded long lines. Mobile driver’s licenses also open the door to new revenue opportunities for the authorities, as most citizens

are open to paying for a premium-level service option, while businesses will pay for increased efficiency such as the ability to authenticate and read mobile driver’s licenses over the phone and new features, like one-time passwords and digital signing.

What Makes HID goID Different?

HID Global is the only company with proven technology to provision mobile IDs directly into citizens’ mobile phones. Unlike other solutions that rely on wireless cloud connectivity as the method to connect to a mobile ID, HID Global’s platform is always avail- able, no matter the connectivity to the cloud. This is extremely important in the case of national and public security. This focus on convenience will ultimately drive widespread adoption.

The HID goID solution can securely verify, both online and offline. In fact, HID Global is the only company that provisions IDs directly onto smartphones for offline verification. Offline verification also enables interoperability between states and among different governing jurisdictions. A single downloadable application allows any authorizing party to verify a HID goID powered mobile ID as authentic, whether that application is used in the same state, or even country. For instance, imagine ending the use of fake IDs by under-age youth!

Nigerian Police Force

Smartphones have become a common part of life for citizens in most regions of the world, with government-issued mobile IDs being a natural extension of this mobile ecosystem.

A great example of this emerging trend is found in the Nigerian Police Force, which has embraced the latest innovations in mobility to improve the security and effectiveness of the government’s vehicle registration program.

Nigeria has a huge population of 170 million people (nearly 1/4 of Africa) with an estimated 50-60 million vehicles on the road. The challenge is that driver and vehicle data is held in disparate databases and is not sufficient or readily available to the police out in the field.

To remedy the situation, the Nigerian Police adopted a mobile Biometric Central Motor Registry (BCMR) to provide real-time access to biometrical verifiable information, plus ongoing access to accident/crime data. The BCMR has the potential to be the most advanced vehicle registration program in the world. There are two related mobile ID projects underway.

In the first, citizens register their vehicles into a biometric central database and receive a biometric RFID credential based on the Seos technology. An officer, approaching a registered vehicle, can use the card’s advanced visual security for a confident visual check, plus access all credential, insurance and accident information in real-time via a handheld reader. Three million cards will be deployed as part of this program beginning 2016, while at full deployment it is expected that there will be in excess of 10 million cards and 10,000 mobile readers distributed nationwide.

With the latest advancements in mobile ID made by HID Global, the Nigerian Police is now readying for a second implementation to augment the card roll-out. This will take them the next step in migrating to full-scale mobile vehicle registration. HID Global, in conjunction with local partner Media Concepts, will facilitate the delivery of vehicle registration credentials to the smartphones of Nigerian citizens, using HID Global’s Seos-based HID goID mobile infrastructure. Compatibility between the card and mobile credential means that a single reader device can be used for verification. Ultimately, this could lead to smartphones being deployed as readers, as the project matures.

Both projects are integrated into the current vehicle registration, enrollment and issuance process, allowing Nigeria to get up and running quickly. In addition, issuance is immediate (once paperwork is processed) for citizens who are issued a mobile ID on their phone. Unlike paper or card based programs of the past, a citizen will only have to be present to enroll – and not come back to pick up their ID – reducing waiting time and enhancing the overall experience.

What’s next? Just Imagine

The smartphone has a new calling – to be our secure mobile ID for everything! In an age of global insecurity, the ID industry must assure governments and stakeholders that mobile IDs will empower citizens to enjoy convenience and simplicity, while delivering the security and privacy expected in a trusted government- issued credential.

For government agencies and organizations, HID Global is able to provide credentials on mobile devices that:

  • Facilitate the delivery of citizen-centric services, building trust and convenience;
  • Allows them to issue, revoke or change mobile IDs more efficiently, securely and quickly;
  • Improves law enforcement interaction with citizens;
  • Prevents counterfeiting through electronic authentication; • Work across multiple platforms and operating systems;
  • Open the door to new revenue opportunities; and
  • Can be easily and securely verified, both online and offline

And for citizens, well just imagine…

  • being able to conveniently renew or amend a driver’s license from a mobile device and not need to stand in line at a registration office;
  • being able to provide proof of identity wherever one is without having to produce a physical document. Your identity is always with you in your mobile phone;
  • not needing a voters card – permission to vote gets sent to a registered citizen’s mobile phone – simply tap your phone to identify yourself when you arrive at the polling station;
  • going into a bar or nightclub where a citizen can just tap his/ her phone against a reader or mobile device to provide proof of age. No other information is revealed, protecting privacy and safety;
  • being able to use a mobile phone to securely identify oneself, without the need to carry valuable documents, in order to open a bank account or secure a loan;

and so, so much more.


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