A report speculates that Apple could either be working on a long-term project related to its payment service popularly known as Apple Pay, or something that's more like a Virtual National ID Verification System.

Two similarly named patents recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describe methods by which identity credentials can be verified. Patently Apple noted that these patents can be seen as a long-term project that allows Apple Pay users to enjoy more services in the future, or be seen as a “blueprint” for a National ID Verification System.

How it works

The patents describe a system that stores biometric information such as iris scans, retina scans, photos and voice recordings in addition to other information like license plate numbers. Agencies or groups working with Apple will be able to verify a user's identity using these details.

One example provided involves a situation where a police officer pulls over a vehicle and verifies its driver's identity all while staying inside the police car. Apple noted that this kind of verification method can also be applied to other scenarios.

These scenarios include border patrols verifying a person's identity during border inspections, restaurants being able to verify if a diner is actually old enough to get a glass of wine, and retailers being able to verify if a certain shopper is over the legal age required to buy restricted items like tobacco, alcoholic drinks and so on.

Patently Apple also noted that three out of the six people that worked on both patent applications are either previously or currently connected to Apple Pay:

  • Achim Pantfoerder - Senior Director Program Management and Senior Director Apple Pay Program Management.
  • Irene Graff - Former Senior Manager of Operations for Apple Pay over two years. Now with Consumer Privacy, Product Strategy and Global Scalability.
  • Tommy Elliot - Former Apple Pay Senior Program Manager, now head of Digital Payments for Bank of America.

Nevertheless, the examples Apple provided seem to indicate that the technology can be used for more than just Apple Pay transactions. The invention could very well be used to identify people everywhere including malls, airports, and the like.

Still, Apple hasn't officially announced anything about the said technology. Stay tuned for more updates as they come.

Apple Pay
A man uses an iPhone 7 smartphone to demonstrate the mobile payment service Apple Pay at a cafe in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 3, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev