PANDEMIC GIVES BOOST AS MORE STATES MOVE TO DIGITAL IDS
AppleMagazine|AppleMagazine #498
The card that millions of people use to prove their identity to everyone from police officers to liquor store owners may soon be a thing of the past as a growing number of states develop digital driver’s licenses.

With the advent of digital wallets and boarding passes, people are relying more on their phones to prove their identity. At least five states have implemented a mobile driver’s license program.

Three others — Utah, Iowa and Florida — intend to launch programs by next year, with more expected to follow suit.

Mobile licenses will give people more privacy by allowing them to decide what personal information they share, state officials say. The licenses offer privacy control options that allow people to verify their age when purchasing alcohol or renting a car, while hiding other personal information like their address.

Having a mobile driver’s license will allow people to update their license information remotely without having to go to a state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or waiting for a new card in the mail, said Lee Howell, state relations manager at the American Automobile Association.

While most states with these programs recommend that users still carry their physical driver’s license as a backup, some industry experts estimate that the coronavirus pandemic has sped up the widespread adoption of contactless identification methods by at least a decade.

“Most people want some kind of a hard token for their identity, but I don’t know how long that will last,” said Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum. “I would imagine that at some point, maybe in a generation, maybe less, that people will accept a fully digital system.”

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