Schoolchildren could get next year's exam results sent to them as a text message under government plans to push services through mobile phones.
People having their passports renewed could receive text messages notifying them of the progress of their application, and benefits claimants would be able to get updates on their bank account under the plans.
Private sector companies such as banks could also use the same infrastructure to provide mobile phone-based services, giving ecommerce a massive boost, according to Alan Mather, chief executive of the e-delivery team at the Office of the e-Envoy (OeE).
"There are organisations that want to issue notification of important things through SMS text messages, such as 'the cheque is in the bank'. To do that properly you need the security part that ties your phone to who you are," Mather told vnunet.com.
"This can be done in a 12-month time frame. And if we get this up and running there's no reason why banks couldn't do the same - we could extend the model to any commercial provider."
Mather said that government and business could work together to create "a chain of trust", so that if a phone is used to access government services it could be trusted by the banks for their services as well.
The OeE is already in discussions with handset manufacturers and mobile operators in the UK. Mather said the services would have to be available on all handsets and networks, otherwise one player would have a big advantage.
Users would pay a small charge for the additional convenience. But pay-as-you-go phones would not be able to use the services.
At the moment government services can be accessed via PCs, but users have to wait for a password to be sent to them through the post. Mobiles could be used to speed up this process.
Users would give their mobile number to the government, which would then check with the mobile operator that the number matched the right identity, Mather explained.
"We could then send a message to the phone saying: 'Did you really register for this government service, and if so type in the code number appearing on the screen now'," he said.
"You sign that and the phone is tied to you from then on, so if you need to send a [message to government] that needs extra security - like adding another child for your benefits - you can. The phone is the platform independent security element."
The security - a digital certificate - would be built into either the phone's Sim card or into the phone itself. "It might be easier to do it with the next generation of phones out this summer because it is less intrusive to upgrade the software rather than replace the Sim," Mather said.
Government departments would need to build processes such as notification into their back-end procedures - to automatically send a message to the user when a passport application is received, for example.
"We see this as a web service to which departments can subscribe," said Mather. "Effectively, a box that connects to the phone network with the Government Gateway doing authentication."
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