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mDL rollout for TSA checks continue, but privacy still a common concern

mDL rollout for TSA checks continue, but privacy still a common concern
 

Maryland’s Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) has launched its Maryland Mobile ID in Samsung Wallet, according to a government release. Now users can securely verify their identity using digital ID at select Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport security PreCheck checkpoints.

“The launch of Maryland Mobile ID in Samsung Wallet marks the Motor Vehicle Administration’s third partnership with a mobile wallet platform – making Maryland the second state in the nation to achieve this milestone,” says the MVA’s Chrissy Nizer. “As we grow into an increasingly digital world, the Motor Vehicle Administration continues to prioritize customer privacy without compromising convenience by offering our residents another option of digital identification.”

Maryland launched its mobile driver’s licenses (mDL) in 2022. Since then, more than 200,000 Marylanders have added their Maryland mDL or state ID to their mobile wallets. The Samsung Wallet expansion makes it the third form of digital ID issued through the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, joining Maryland Mobile ID in Apple Wallet and Google Wallet.

The release calls digital driver’s licenses in mobile wallets “a companion” to physical IDs, which Marylanders are still advised to carry.

Illinois bill on digital identity headed to governor’s desk

Illinois may soon see mobile driver’s licenses hit its streets, as a measure that would allow the Secretary of State to issue digital IDs makes its way to the governor for a signature. WGIL reports on how politicians in the state are sparring over the question of convenience versus privacy, with House Republicans worried that law enforcement could abuse their authority by illegally searching and seizing cell phones hosting digital ID.

State Rep. Kam Buckner, who carried the bill (HB 4592), believes it will help those who live in areas far from DMV offices. “I think this will benefit people who have got to drive a while to get to a facility,” says Buckner. “This is really about the Secretary of State’s commitment to doubling down on security but also advancing us in a way that works for the whole state.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which nominally supports the bill, has also chimed in with concerns that mobile IDs put people without an Internet connection at a disadvantage.

Idemia points to New York mobile drivers licenses’ international standards

Privacy concerns related to mobile driver’s licenses have been a recurring theme as states move to introduce digital ID. Critics note that the security of digital IDs is only as good as the operating systems they run on, which many users are slow to update.

In New York, where Idemia Public Security North America provides digital identity services for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the firm touts its app’s conformance with ISO-IEC mobile driver’s license standards and its embedded security protections. But the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has raised concerns about police abuse and the tracking of immigrants. They worry it is untested and unprecedented.

Route Fifty quotes Daniel Schwarz, the NYCLU’s senior privacy and technology strategist, who believes “a program that would completely overhaul how identity records are stored, presented and accessed requires the highest level of public scrutiny and should be implemented with utmost care, legal attention and technical safeguards.”

Ontario mobile IDs quashed over political pressure

Residents of Ontario, Canada will have to wait a while longer for digital driver’s licenses, with the government announcing that the mDL program is on indefinite hold. Despite a years-long campaign pushing mobile driver’s licenses and digital wallets as consumer-friendly, the office of Premier Doug Ford has killed the initiative. An insider who spoke to the Toronto Star says privacy concerns put the brakes on, when the government learned how unpopular digital ID is with its conservative base.

Ontario previously digitized its COVID vaccine certificates, and at one point had ambitions to offer digital identity for Ontarians by the end of 2021.

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