Google calls on chip manufacturers for the secure storage of personal data: in the future we will use smartphones and wearables to open the car and store documents.
After revolutionizing the approach to many activities that we do every day, technological devices are about to become a valuable ally even in the way we use the car. The star of the show is Google's Android Ready SE Alliance, a system capable of storing and using digitized versions of important tools and documents, such as a driver's license, but also capable of replacing the keys to the car, house or any other electronic lock.
Android Ready SE Alliance is basically an industrial alliance between Google and manufacturers of "Secure Element" hardware, i.e. chips capable of storing sensitive personal data in a secure and encrypted manner. In the alliance Google provides its "Identity Credential API", introduced with Android 11, which allows you to use your smartphone to store not only your car driving license, but also other documents and credentials in a completely secure way. According to Big G, therefore, the time is ripe to take a further step by making standard the way data is stored and accessed, in a protected and intruder-proof environment such as that represented by the most modern cell phones. Android Ready SE Alliance could be the right occasion to complete at least the first phase of this challenging path.
Android Ready SE Alliance, what it consists of
According to Google's statements, Android Ready SE Alliance was created to "create a set of open source, validated and ready-to-use SE (Secure Element) applets". In fact, Mountain View's desire is to be able to create applets (i.e., small applications with a specific purpose) that allow the free use of digital identity credentials, such as precisely a dematerialized version of the driving document and vehicle keys.
Previously, in 2018, Google had already created a chip particularly resistant to external attacks, called Titan M and placed it inside its Pixel 3 smartphone. The same was later used for the storage of Android app keys via StrongBox, a technology that allows the secure management of passwords and cryptographic keys, now released in a version that can be used by other OEM partners as well.
Android Ready SE Alliance, who can be part of it
To be part of the circle of OEMs of Google's Android Ready SE Alliance, it is necessary that some basic parameters are met, in particular concerning security, with special encryption protocols to protect the security of future users. The group already includes companies such as Giesecke Devrient, Kigen, NXP, the Italian-French company STMicroelectronics and Thales. All these companies will produce the hardware and applets to securely store keys and documents, following the standards that will be drawn up by the alliance.
Android Ready SE Alliance in practice
According to what Google confirmed, the project would not be dedicated exclusively to smartphones and tablets. In fact, it could also be implemented on other platforms such as Wear OS (dedicated to wearable devices), Android TV and Android Automotive OS. With all these devices, in the not-so-distant future, we will be able to authenticate without entering username and password. So, for example, once we store our credentials on a smartwatch that device can be used to open the door of our house or car, but also to store our documents.
In the meantime, other companies are already working on their own versions of digital keys. Samsung, above all, has among its plans to add a similar system to open and start cars branded Audi, BMW, Ford and Genesis. This is, in any case, a different plan than Google's project, which aims at universality, based on Android, and the possibility of making available to the motorist also the digitized version of their driving document.