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mDL advances support digital government ecosystems in Kurdistan, Greece

Liminal highlights role of mDLs in digital identity
mDL advances support digital government ecosystems in Kurdistan, Greece

New mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs) have been launched in Kurdistan and surpassed 500,000 users in Greece. Each stands as an example of a global trend highlighted by digital ID analysis firm Liminal, which has published an analysis of the role of mDLs in the broader digital ID infrastructure in the U.S. and Europe.

Kurdistan launches mDL, wider digital ID project

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has launched a new mDL project as part of a wider initiative to digitalize public services in the region.

The news was reported by Kurdish daily Rudaw, which quoted KRG’s Prime Minister Masrour Barzani as speaking at the project launch event last Wednesday.

“The electronic driving license will be a basis for collecting data of Kurdistani citizens so that in the future we can both issue driving licenses electronically and provide a basis for other services to be done electronically.”

The technology behind the new mDL is based on a 2020 collaboration between KRG and German-based technology partner Mühlbauer.

According to a tweet by Hiwa Afandi, head of KRG’s Department of Information Technology, the new mDL project is the first system relying on and feeding the central Population Information System (PIS).

The digital ID infrastructure will include minimum age requirements for different types of driver’s licenses, ranging from 16 to 20 years old. The mDL released as part of the project is reportedly the first official document to assign a digital identity number (UPN) to citizens.

Greece shares user figures a month after mDL project takeoff

More than 710,000 Greek citizens have downloaded their digital ID cards onto their phones using the government app Wallet, and exactly 563,072 have used it to upload their driving license, Ekathimerini reports.

Launched on July 27 by the Digital Governance Ministry, the app is available on the website of the Greek government and officially supports both personal ID documents and driver’s licenses for use within the country’s borders (they cannot be used to prove citizens’ identity or ability to drive abroad).

Moving forward, the Greek Digital Governance Ministry said it intends to add more digital IDs to the app, including details of vehicle registration permits, payments of road tax, and insurance details, among others.

Liminal explores role of mDLs in digital ID ecosystems

The consultancy published a new report earlier this month, suggesting the importance of mDL schemes within digital ID ecosystems is on the rise.

The analysis piece opens by mentioning how the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, including digital wallets as payment systems. An example of this, says the post, is Apple working with several U.S. states to add mDLs to the Apple Wallet.

On the other side of the pond, the EU is working on a European Digital Identity designed to enable individuals to verify their identities online and in person for various public and private services across EU countries.

Despite these initiatives, however, Liminal warns that for mDLs to reach true scale, these projects (and all digital IDs, more generally) must have full interoperability across all devices and applications.

“Digital natives will expect the same ubiquity across all of their devices and the use cases for identity in their daily lives,” reads the post by Travis Jarae, Cameron D’Ambrosi, and Jennie Berry.

The Liminal team also believes some efforts in this direction have already been made, for instance, through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the FIDO Alliance.

At the same time, the company said that before unified standards for mDLs reach a consensus, companies and governments need to create frameworks that allow for frictionless interoperability, portability, security, and trust.

“Success could be defined by all of these stakeholders admitting there’s a problem with user authentication throughout the entire ecosystem, and generating shared standards for federated user data and identity.”

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