Technology, Top News

UK gov begs Apple to unlock NFC for passport-scanning Brexit app

Yeah, alright, stop wearing the cliche hat. We get it.

CITIZENS OF the 27 remaining EU countries are being invited to register their interest in remaining in the UK with a simple smartphone app.

One problem: it doesn’t work on Apple devices.

The app allows users to apply for “settled status” with three simple questions, a selfie, and a scan of the NFC chip on their EU passport. Bosh. Should be easy.

The problem is that Apple being Apple has kept its NFC technology locked down. 

This means that the 3.5 million affected residents will need to wait longer than the two weeks specified. They’ll either need to borrow an Android phone or post their entire passport off like the old days to the UK Home Office, and wait for that pile to get sorted.

Auntie McBeeb points out that Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices will also be unable to scan the passports.

The Home Office embarked on the scheme apparently in full knowledge that Apple devices would not work and were, therefore, depending on Apple to update their software to accommodate it.

Apple didn’t.

In fact, Apple has repeatedly refused, even when Home Secretary Sajid Javid visited Apple’s transparent HQ earlier in the year to beg.

There was some speculation that the NFC chips that are currently limited to Apple Pay and a few security features would be unlocked with the release of iOS 12.1, which was formally announced at the iPad/MacBook event earlier in the week.

Apple has confirmed that no, it did not unlock the chip with this release.

The Home Office is continuing to work with Apple, but neither side is willing to speculate on if an agreement can be reached by Brexit deadline day next March.

The Home Office has said that it could not be blamed because Apple “won’t release the update”. Apple would doubtless counter that this is none of the Home Office’s business and some backing off might be a good move.

However, complaints have been echoed by the Dutch Government who is also pushing Apple to unlock its tech, but there’s no indication on how imminent a move could be and the embarrassment is more likely to stick to the Home Office, not the tech giant.

Home Office requests can also be completed on a desktop computer, but once again will require postal confirmation. μ

Source : Inquirer

Previous ArticleNext Article
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Professional Hackers India'. Technology Evangelist, Security Analyst, Cyber Security Expert, PHP Developer and Part time hacker.

Send this to a friend