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Digital Credentials: Google Launches Android Ready SE Alliance

Google has joined with secure element (SE) vendors to launch the Android Ready SE Alliance to drive the adoption of digital credentials.

The alliance is creating and rolling out a set of open-source, validated, and ready-to-use SE applets for use in conjunction with tamper-resistant hardware, including a general availability version of the Android StrongBox for SE Keystore implementation.

“Emerging user features” — digital keys, mobile driver’s license (mDL), national ID, ePassports, and eMoney solutions (wallets) — require two things. The first is tamper-resistant hardware, like the Pixel’s Titan M chip, which makes possible tamper-resistant key storage for Android apps (to store data) called StrongBox.

All these features need to run on tamper-resistant hardware to protect the integrity of the application executables and a user’s data, keys, wallet, and more. Most modern phones now include discrete tamper-resistant hardware called a Secure Element (SE).

Google has determined that “SE offers the best path for introducing these new consumer use cases in Android.” To “accelerate adoption,” the company and partners (Giesecke+Devrient, Kigen, NXP, STMicroelectronics, and Thales) today announced the Android Ready SE Alliance.

“It is important to note that these features are not just for phones and tablets. StrongBox is also applicable to WearOS, Android Auto Embedded, and Android TV,” Google says.

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