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California, Iowa make progress on mDLs, Australian states see delays

California, Iowa make progress on mDLs, Australian states see delays

U.S. states Iowa and California are taking strides in expanding the availability and acceptance of their mobile driver’s licenses, while Australian states continue to face setbacks.

Iowa mDL app now available in Apple Store and Google Play

Iowa’s mDLs has reached an official launch on the Apple Store and Google Play, and can now be accepted at “a large number of businesses,” Governor Kim Reynolds says in an announcement. The state’s mDLs were developed by Idemia in partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Users can verify their identity by using a QR code, which the Department of Transportation says provides a contactless and secure method. Individuals approve requests for each transaction of information before it is shared, giving them control over their own data. The ID meets the ISO standard for mobile driver’s licenses, and reached a soft launch in August.

Using the Mobile ID app, users register their device’s number, which binds the digital ID to their device alone. Then, user’s upload a photo of both sides of their physical ID along with a selfie that includes biometric liveness detection. The information is verified against the Iowa Department of Transportation’s record. Registration is complete after identity is confirmed. Users then choose a personal ID number that is stored only on the device.

The department of transportation keeps credentials in the app up to date, showing if an ID has been revoked or canceled.

Iowa’s digital ID is valid at businesses throughout the state. Customers can use the Age to Purchase App developed by the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Division to buy age-restricted products. The digital IDs can also be used at TSA PreCheck checkpoints at airports in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, among others.

To find locations that accept the ID, Iowans can look for the “Iowa Mobile ID” logo on business doors or at checkout. Many businesses that accept the mDL are listed on the Iowa Mobile ID website.

The ID is a companion to the physical card. State residents should still carry their physical copy. Iowa was the first state to launch an mDL pilot program using Idemia’s software in 2015.

California’s digital IDs meets W3C standard preferred by ACLU

SpruceID has partnered with California’s DMV to develop the app for the state’s mDL, which was piloted earlier this fall. The system uses SpruceKit, an open-source toolkit for constructing wallets for decentralized identity, and Credible Platform, a credential management system. California’s mDLs use iProov’s biometrics and liveness detection.

A secure digital ID system should be “free of proprietary corporate strings,” says Jay Stanley in an ACLU article. “There must be no one corporation, or small handful of corporations, that Americans are de facto required to deal with in order to participate in a digital identity system.” Open-source systems, like the one being used in California, can provide transparency and prevent vendor lock-in.

The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) standard for digital IDs, called verifiable credentials, uses a decentralized model and protects privacy better than other systems, claims Stanley. On the other hand, ISO’s standards allow tracking (if they “phone home” on each use)  and lack features that provide certain privacy protections, such as addressing the design of digital wallets.

SpruceID implemented ISO and W3C standards in the app, ensuring interoperability. Like Iowa’s ID holders, registered Californian drivers can use their mDLs to verify identity at airports and as a method for providing proof of age without revealing your exact birth date. Issuers will not be notified when someone uses their mobility driver’s license.

Australia’s digital ID programs continue to face setbacks

Meanwhile, in Australia, ABC reports that a digital ID app for residents of Queensland has been released after successfully passing what the Transport Minister Mark Bailey described as “rigorous” privacy and security testing. State officials, however, are now telling individuals to wait before downloading the app due to “customer experience” issues.

“Some customers have experienced delays and so we are asking you to wait before downloading. We will let you know when the issue is resolved,” reads a statement from the state’s Department of Transport. Roughly 5,800 people had already downloaded the app overnight. At the same time, the New South Wales digital ID program remains at a standstill.

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