Dutch research institute Novay has developed an Android app that could make expensive NFC reader equipment redundant when verifying passports.
NFC Passport Reader uses NFC to read the chip embedded in a passport and can then verify its authenticity using the ePassport Java library JMRTD, which can check the passport's validity by verifying a digital signature on the information held in the chip.
Novay's Maarten Wegdam believes the app has a number of advantages. "Consumers can use the app instead of a PC or laptop with a USB smart card reader attached. The latter is expensive and user unfriendly," he says.
"Professionals that need to verify the identity of someone in a face-to-face situation, a car rental organization or a public notary, can use the app instead of more expensive dedicated hardware-based solutions."
Wegdam also says the app can be used as an added form of remote authentication for situations such as when installing a mobile banking app on a smartphone and verifying the user's access rights to an account.
Although NFC Passport Reader is now available to download, the Novay team stresses that its current form should be considered a prototype. Future features are expected to include using the smartphone's camera to read the document number, date of birth and expiry date so the user doesn't have to type them in.