Driver’s licenses stored on our phones are not too far off down the road.
Apple announced earlier this week that, by this fall, its Wallet App will be expanded to include digital IDs from participating states. Meanwhile, New York State is working with IBM on the possibility of expanding its Excelsior Pass vaccine passport system to include driver’s licenses, according to a New York Times report. The federal government is also on board with the concept. In April, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it was looking for input on upcoming rules for mobile digital driver’s licenses.
But are digital IDs a good thing? Maybe not, but they also seem to be inevitable.
The pandemic has helped some people get more comfortable with storing personal information on their phones, which might explain why states and tech companies are forging ahead with the idea of digital driver’s licenses. These efforts are flanked by an ongoing and highly polarizing debate over digital vaccine passports, which provide people with an easy way to prove they’ve been inoculated so that they can do things like board a plane or go to a concert. Several states, including Florida and Texas, have banned or restricted vaccine passports, which suggests that some Americans still are not comfortable storing certain highly personal information on their phones.
Though the technology that powers them is similar in many ways, digital driver’s licenses are not the same thing as vaccine passports, as their health records aren’t necessarily involved. Many of the plans and proposals being considered simply call for a secure, verifiable way to store all the information that’s currently on your physical driver’s license on your phone. Proponents of these digital state identification systems say that this
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