An iphone homescreen. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon demoed a jointly developed prototype authentication app at the Mobile World Congress Conference on Wednesday, that uses customer behavior patterns to verify users identity.

Why it matters: While Project Verify may look similar to other apps that use a phone for authentication – Google Authenticator included – cell companies have access to a host of data that app designers, and even phone manufacturers, do not. If it works as intended, Project Verify is a significant step in mobile security.

"This is not just a better mousetrap," Johannes Jaskolski, general manager of the companies' joint Mobile Authentication Taskforce. "This is fundamentally different, using very unique signals."

The potential uses: The potential uses include replacing passwords for low security accounts or being paired with a password to bolster protection on more secure accounts. It could be used to protect logins from mobile devices, desktops or anything else.

The internals: Without collecting any information they already don't, phone companies already have access to SIM cards, detailed location data and other information that normal authentication apps do not. Phones allow apps from carriers special access.

The minutia: Though the four carriers worked together on the app, none of the authentication data is shared between companies – a hypothetical rogue employee at T-Mobile couldn’t access an AT&T customer's information.

Go deeper

Democrats on Trump tax story: "This is a national security question"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that the New York Times report that President Trump has hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due within the next four years is a "national security question," and that the public has a "right to know" the details of his financial obligations.

The big picture: Democrats have already leapt on the Times' bombshell, which Trump has dismissed as "total fake news," to attack the president for allegedly paying less in federal income taxes than the average middle-class household.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Unsealed opinion: Trump TikTok ban likely overstepped legal authority

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A federal court judge on Sunday granted TikTok's request for a temporary restraining order against a ban by the Trump administration.

Driving the news: Judge Carl Nichols on Monday unsealed his opinion, in which he concluded that the ban seeks to regulate the exchange of "informational materials" — something that's expressly exempted from the law laying out the emergency powers Trump invoked.

Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 33,217,895 — Total deaths: 999,273 — Total recoveries: 22,975,269Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 7,128,774 — Total deaths: 204,881 — Total recoveries: 2,766,280 — Total tests: 101,298,794Map.
  3. States: Cuomo extends New York moratorium on evictions until 2021
  4. Business: Companies are still holding back earnings guidance.
  5. Health: The childless vaccine — Why kids get less severe coronavirus infections.
  6. World: India the second country after U.S. to hit 6 million cases