Google and Qualcomm to Create Digital ID in Mobile Phones

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. digitized / ˈdɪdʒ ɪˌtaɪzd / (adj) – converted into a form that can be used and read by computers

    Our school’s registration system stores digitized student records.

  2. eliminate / ɪˈlɪm əˌneɪt / (v) – to remove

    The company developed a technology that eliminates toxic waste.

  3. expedite / ˈɛk spɪˌdaɪt / (v) – to quicken the process or progress of something

    He contacted the seller to expedite the shipment of his goods.

  4. confidentiality / ˌkɑːnfəˌdɛnʃiˈæləti / (n) – the state of keeping something private

    All information uploaded to the database will be treated with absolute confidentiality.

  5. functionality / ˈfʌŋk ʃə nl ɪ ti / (n) – a set of tasks or operations that a system or an electronic device is able to perform

    The developers need to improve the app’s functionality so that it will be more useful to all users.


Read the text below.

Tech giants Google and Qualcomm have partnered to make digitized IDs available in Android R, Google’s upcoming operating system.

Currently under development, the new feature will function using a system called Android Identity Credential API. This system will enable IDs like passports and driver’s licenses to be stored in smartphones.

The new feature will eliminate the need of having physical ID cards since users can simply access their digitized IDs through their phones. The feature can also help users easily confirm their identities both offline and online and expedite the authentication process of users’ online purchases.

In a demo presented at the Snapdragon Tech Summit in Hawaii last December, Google and Qualcomm showed how individuals can use their digitized ID, which is accessible through a QR code. A simple app installed on a different device can be used to scan the code, and the users’ credentials will appear. The users’ personal information is not stored in the QR code for confidentiality, and users can opt to show a restricted version of their credentials that just displays their name, age, and face.

Currently, there is limited information about how users’ credentials will be transferred to digital IDs since Google and Qualcomm have not yet provided a detailed explanation of how the system will work.

After the new feature was revealed, some users expressed concerns about the risks of storing more personal information in their smartphones considering the security issues. A senior executive from Qualcomm admitted that there might be difficulty in getting the approval and support of government agencies and businesses regarding the functionality of digitized IDs.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• In your opinion, do the possible risks of digital IDs outweigh the benefits of the technology? Explain.
• How do you think Google and Qualcomm can ensure the confidentiality of users’ personal information? Explain.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, what pieces of information should not be made available or shared digitally? Explain.
• Do you think digitized information will become more prevalent in the future? Why or why not?