Americas DMVs considering the future of the digital ID role thrust upon them
Mobile driver’s licenses are a necessary next step for America’s state motor vehicle departments in playing a role that has been thrust upon them by the need for people to prove who they are, according to industry and government security veterans.
iProov presented the webinar, ‘Digital Identity Proofing for Public Good: The Role of the State DMVs,’ with Eric Jorgensen of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), along with iProov SVP and Head of Americas Ajay Amlani. Amlani’s background also includes time as a senior policy advisor to DHS.
A clip from the movie Zootopia indicates the reputation that motor vehicle departments around the world have for slow, ineffective customer service.
Amlani notes that 42 percent of Americans surveyed say the need to schedule an in-person appointment has led to a delay in their receipt of a REAL ID-compliant license, and 31 percent have driven with an expired driver’s license, showing the motivation of motor vehicle departments to adopt digital technologies to improve accessibility. DMVs should use face biometrics, or at least consider doing so, according to 88 percent.
He argues that the use of biometrics increases equitable access, as everyone has biometrics but not everyone has a good internet connection, for instance. This method, Amlani says, is being received in Washington.
Biometrics could not only improve the operational efficiency of DMVs, but also provide a source of revenue, as 86 percent say they would pay for the convenience of online processes.
Jorgensen noted Arizona’s motor vehicle division’s continued reliance on legacy technology as a hindrance to flexible adoption of technology. Likewise, the continued reliance on social security numbers as a secure credential is holding back strong identity proofing processes, he argues.
Like other government bodies considering using biometrics as a tool to improve efficiency, state motor vehicle departments are under-resourced, Jorgensen says.
He discussed the DMV as a “department of citizen engagement,” or the closest thing to an identity authority among government agencies. As an agency with no motivation in such processes other than serving the resident, DMVs are positioned to prioritize user privacy, according to Jorgensen.
He and Amlani discussed the need for a stronger foundation to Americans’ identity proofing capabilities, and motor vehicle departments’ position as the most obvious source of that additional strength. Amlani reviewed the standards work in the area, and Jorgensen reviewed how they have extended the function of mobile driver’s licenses beyond those of physical driver’s licenses, with higher assurance and stronger privacy protection through selective disclosure.
Remote use cases that further expand the possibilities are just starting to come online.
Arizona launched a mobile driver’s license built with Idemia technology in 2021.
Jorgensen is chair of the steering committee for the AAMVA’s Digital Trust Service, and says the public key repository initiative is preparing to make announcements about how it will apply standards and accept applications.
Amlani noted that Verifiable Credentials are also now set to influence the development of mDLs.
He also argues that the threat potential of technologies like generative AI and quantum computing make it vital to put strong protection mechanisms in place.