Popular messaging app Telegram on Thursday announced the launch of a new feature called Telegram Passport on its platform. This is essentially an end-to-end encrypted service where users can store their real-world IDs in order to simplify sharing of information with apps and services that require these documents. Using Telegram Passport, you can store IDs like driving licence, passport, personal ID proof, address ID, phone number, and email address. In the future, all Telegram Passport data will be moved to a decentralised cloud. The feature is available on version 4.9 of the app on Android and iOS.
Telegram claims that it will not have access to your personal data and data will be protected by end-to-end encryption, much like the company’s messaging servers. Data you choose to share with other apps will go straight to the recipient without access to Telegram. At launch, only ePayments.com has integration with Telegram Passport, with the company urging other developers to come forward and implement it in their apps and services for free. According to Telegram, “[implementing] it takes minimum effort and can save many hours of coding.”
To try out this new feature, head over to ePayments.com/tg and click on Sign up with Telegram. The link will redirect you to the Passport section in the Telegram app from where you will be prompted to create a password along with a password hint and a recovery email address. Once done, users will then be asked to click the validation link in their email to complete two-step verification.
Once enabled, you can fill in personal details and documents and click on Authorize to enable sharing of this encrypted information with the vendor, ePayments in this case. After you upload your documents, data can be accessed by going into Settings > Privacy & Security > Telegram Passport on Android and Settings > Telegram Passport on iOS.
Apple offers something similar with Student IDs that were recently announced for iOS 12 and watchOS 5. Rolling out to select colleges in the United States, Student ID will allow students to access locations such as gyms, dining halls, and rooms, alongside making purchases at the cafeteria or paying for laundry using a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch. Facebook and Google also allow users to log in to other apps and services using their platforms, however the ability to share personal IDs and documents is currently not available.