Her Majesty's Passport Office, known previously as the Identity and Passport Service, are considering the development of NFC smartphone applications capable of verifying the authenticity of government-issued identification documents.

HMPO have already released an Android NFC application, UK Passport Reader, which allows members of the public to view the information and photo digitally stored in their passports. The current version of the application was developed out-of-hours by a HMPO employee, and uses publicly released methods to read passport data, in the same manner as non-government applications such as NFC TagInfo.

However, the description for UK Passport Reader indicates that HMPO are investigating the use of mobile devices as an easily accessible way to check the authenticity of passports and Biometric Residence Permits.

"It has not been decided whether there will be any future development of this app. However a future version could confirm that a passport is genuine or has not been reported lost/stolen. A future version could also be made to read BRPs (Biometric Residence Permits) or the passports of other countries."

A practical application of this would be for employers to quickly check that an applicant is able to legally work in the UK, and that their ID has not been reported as lost or stolen. The release of such functionality could significantly decrease the need for staffing of  HMPO's Passport Validation Service.

No comment has been provided about the progress of the investigation.

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