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The Drive to the Mobile Driver’s License

A survey of Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) was recently conducted to gauge the interest in mobile driver’s licenses. In a sample of the 69 jurisdictions that issue driver’s licenses in North America, approximately one-third of them indicated either interest or planning for the move to offering mobile driver’s licenses to citizens in the future. We expect that this trend will only increase.

Having your driver’s license on your smartphone – instead of having to carry your wallet with a plastic driver’s license – is intriguing to most people. Our smartphone has become an extension of ourselves and is used for virtually everything else, ranging from boarding an airplane to buying products. Why not our identity on our smartphone?

A mobile driver’s license will simplify people’s lives, empower people with more applications and better control of their privacy, and increase the level of trust to use a person’s digital identity. The benefits also extend to DMVs, which will be able to improve citizens’ experience as well as generate new revenues. People will not have to go stand in line at DMVs anymore to renew a driver’s license or make an address change.

Policymakers are increasingly interested in seeing the results of “pilot programs” to demonstrate the viability of a jurisdiction offering a mobile driver’s license. HID Global is actively pursuing pilot programs in US jurisdictions. As a leader in trusted identities, we are able to extend the power of our credential technology to deliver a mobile driver’s license.

We are addressing the concerns and objections of decision-makers, who either are happy with the way driver’s licenses currently work or are suspicious of the mobile driver’s license. People are asking good questions about mobile IDs, and HID Global is here to answer those questions. HID Global is a source of relevant and practical information. The more educated a decision-maker is, the better!

The following are three examples of concerns or objections to mobile driver’s licenses.

  • Mobile driver’s license can be faked more easily than a physical driver’s license. The truth is just the opposite, however. It is easier to fake a physical driver’s license than a mobile driver’s license. With mobile, electronic authentication using cryptography is possible, which will prevent counterfeiting or fake IDs.
  • A mobile phone battery can die and make the mobile driver’s license useless. The beauty of a mobile driver’s license is that it can be available online, with the permission of the citizen. A government official, such as a police officer, will be able to access people’s identity, even if the citizen’s phone battery is drained.
  • Deploying a mobile driver’s license is too complex. Because the existing processes and infrastructure to create a physical driver’s license will be used by a DMV, there is actually not that much more that needs to be done to enable a DMV to start issuing mobile driver’s license except to work with a trusted partner who can securely provision the credential over-the-air into a citizen’s smartphone. The best approach is for a DMV to launch a pilot program to test out the concept of a mobile driver’s license.

Mobile driver’s licenses will be an option for citizens who desire their convenience and are not meant to replace physical driver’s licenses. For the foreseeable future, physical driver’s licenses will co-exist with mobile driver’s licenses. Co-existence will give government bodies more time to work out all the details and learn from the rollout.

Once one or two states start offering mobile driver’s licenses to its citizens, there will be a ripple effect. The shift will be quick across many other states. This will unleash the unrealized demand among citizens for mobile IDs.

Stay tuned for more blogs about extending people’s identities to smartphones for government-to-citizen identification. The world of citizen IDs is on the verge of a massive shift. HID Global will be there every step of the way.

In the meantime, you can join the conversation about mobile driver’s licenses on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7037985. Post a comment with your opinion or question.