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Apple Adding Support for Selfie Security Verification for Government-Issued Photo IDs in Wallet App

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Apple is bringing selfie validation to the iPhone for government-issued ID support.

Apple announced at WWDC 2021 in June that it was adding support for government-issued photo IDs to its Wallet app. The company didn’t share many details about the feature, but 9to5Mac has discovered “code and files” in iOS 15 Beta 4 that could explain how the company plans to prevent its misuse.

The addition of government-issued photo IDs could make Wallet even more useful to iPhone owners. But perhaps the biggest question about the feature, with the possible exception of where it would be supported, is how Apple planned to prevent malicious actors from adding other people’s IDs.

Now, 9to5Mac reports that Apple will use selfie-based verification to prevent such misuse. Code found in the latest iOS 15 beta suggests Wallet will task people with taking a photo of themselves and then close their eyes, open their mouths, and raise their eyebrows until the device vibrates.

The report also says “another piece of code suggests that these photos will be processed through on-device analysis,” which hews to Apple’s recent emphasis on handling as much data locally as possible. Using an ID after it’s been added would only require the use of Face ID.

Selfie validation is not new, as some banking apps use it to authenticate users on new devices; however, Apple has built its own solution, using the technologies of the iPhone.

The process is a bit different than just taking a photo of yourself though. It is similar to the Face ID setup, in which you need to rotate your head in different positions so the iPhone can register your face. Here, animations will guide you to capture your face in different positions, for example looking sideways, raising your eyebrows, opening your mouth, smiling.

After that, according to pieces of the code, the results will be analyzed on the device and then, the setup will be completed. Once your ID card is added to the Wallet app, you’ll be able to use it just with Face ID to confirm your identity.

Apple stated that the feature to add your ID card to Apple Wallet will be coming later this year to some residents in the US.

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