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Florida’s government is ready for digital ID. Are its populist residents?

Florida’s government is ready for digital ID. Are its populist residents?

Florida is piloting biometric digital driving licenses and IDs. Testing systems and operations, however, might be beside the point.

Having for years fed residents a buffet of anti-tech, anti-big brother and anti-big government paranoia, Florida’s state and local politicians pushing the mobile driving license might want to test the vulnerabilities of their safe rooms. Triggered constituents could show up with more than pitchforks and torches.

An article in Government Technology states that the Florida Smart ID app could be ready for mobile phones before year’s end. A code or fingerprint will be needed to access the app, and only dedicated scanners will be able to verify its legitimacy.

A recent law mandated Florida’s motor vehicle agency to create a state-standard ID that can be presented to law enforcement officers and retailers as a legal document. As with most similar efforts, phones would display a QR or bar code.

French manufacturing conglomerate Thales Group is providing identity management, according to Government Technology.

Anyone ticking boxes for potential flashpoints capable of derailing the program, check foreign — French — involvement.

Steven Purdy, a Thales marketing exec quoted by the publication, addressed privacy concerns, which cannot be overstated in a red state like Florida.

“I would say that the privacy angle is an important angle,” Purdy said.

Data shared when displaying the code will be controlled by the holder. Few organizations would need all the information, such as biometrics, that a traffic cop needs.

Lost devices, according to the state, can be reported to the motor vehicle agency, recognized infrequently as the easiest department to work with, and the app will be remotely and “almost instantly” wiped.

Information posted on the motor vehicle agency’s site makes no mention of securing personal data managed by the state or its contractor, or transaction records.

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