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EU could force Apple to open up iPhone NFC functionality

EU could force Apple to open up iPhone NFC functionality

The European Union is pondering whether to force Apple to open up its NFC functionality on iOS devices to rival payment providers, according to Bloomberg.

Apple Pay is the only mobile payment service that may access the NFC 'tap and go' technology embedded on iOS mobile devices for payments in stores, a process that has been damned by banks in a number of jurisdictions for preventing competition from their own proprietary apps.

In June, the EC opened an antitrust investigation into the issue. Now, according to documents seen by Bloomberg, the Commission will also look into new laws.

Says a report set to be unveiled in the coming days: "In parallel with its ongoing and future competition enforcement, the Commission will examine whether it is appropriate to propose legislation aimed at securing a right of access under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions, to technical infrastructures considered necessary to support the provision of payment services."

Apple has previously won a long-running battle with Australia's banks over access to its NFC functionality, arguing that giving third parties access would pose a security risk.

The EU document says that any laws would take "due account of the potential security and other risks that such access could pose".

Comments: (2)

Dean Wallace
Dean Wallace - ACI - Global 21 September, 2020, 14:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Now this would be interesting. Apple Pay is picking up globally what with digital being the increasingly preferred form factor and Covid concerns amounting. It's also great for simple mCommerce too. I watched the Oz assesment with disbelief at the outcome. Having opena access to globally deployed consumer infrastructure is so crucial for competitive forces. Let's see if the EU can drive this level of fairness I'm under half a decade

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 22 September, 2020, 12:35Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

If Apple do open up access to the NFC Interface this is only half the battle, unless people intend to use Software Whiteboxes (which need to be cycled on a regular basis as they are vulnerable to side-channel attack) access will be required to either a Secure Element or Trusted Execution Environment for Cryptographically secure processing of Keys and Sensitive Data.