Iowa testing digital driver’s licenses

Iowa testing digital driver’s licenses

For states and many most government agencies, the driver’s license is the de facto standard for identification. But the wallet card may soon be replaced by a digital version that resides on a smartphone.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is testing mobile driver license (mDL) software with employees who will assess and validate the solution for use in situations where physical licenses are typically presented.

Working with MorphoTrust USA, Iowa DOT will also test updates to its customer record system with the changes rendered on a smartphone in real time. With the mDL, information such as name, address, over/under 21 status and organ donor status can be changed and posted on a citizen’s phone immediately.

According to MorphoTrust, the mDL software carries the same level of trust as its physical counterpart, the driver's license/ID card. It includes both covert and visible security features that are linked to the digital image on the screen, and that allow the mDL to be quickly authenticated and protect it against reproduction.

In addition to PIN and fingerprint-based security features already built into phones used in the pilot, the mDL app can be secured using MorphoTrust facial recognition unlock technologies, which requires the user to take a selfie and use a custom PIN.

“Although we’re not yet ready to release the mDL for customer use, the lessons learned in this pilot will demonstrate the use case for our mDL application to be offered in the future as an option to all citizens across the state,” Iowa DOT Director Paul Trombino said. The pilot, he said, also "may help guide other states who want to launch similar digital identity programs."

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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