Delaware Wants To Become The First State To Offer Digital Driver’s Licenses

We have digital documents that have become just as accepted as paperwork — from contracts to concert tickets — so why not that holy grail of wheeled freedom for the minor set, the driver’s license? Delaware wants to start the technological trend of having digital driver’s licenses, with the state legislature adopting a resolution to start looking into the process.

The Legislature adopted a resolution last week that directs the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles to study and consider digital licenses, reports

“We’d like to go first,” said Jennifer Cohan, director of the Delaware DMV says. “If it works for Delaware, then it will be a new option for Delaware citizens to show proof of driver’s license and identification.”

Other states are working on it as well: Iowa is crafting a pilot program with the vendor it shares with Delaware and 40 other states. That app will launch in 2016.

Drivers would still have a choice of a hard plastic license as well, with the digital version being an additional option.

To gain access to the information in the app — including birthdate, name, address, signature and photo, like on hard licenses — you’d have to provide facial, fingerprint or voice recognition as well as a personal-identification code.

Not everyone is on board, as some security experts warn that it’s unclear what information would be shared where and with whom.

“Would you really want to put an app on your phone that the government wrote?” Chase Cotton, professor of practice in the University of Delaware’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, told the news site.

“They’re probably not going to do anything bad, but most people have a lot of private information on their phones,” he said, adding that digital IDs are probably going to happy anyway.

Others in the police force have questions about traffic stops — what if the driver’s phone has lost power, and how can an officer take the digital license away after a drunken driving arrest if they can’t take the phone?

Iowa’s answer is a mobile app for law enforcement phones that would read digital driver’s license, so the phone would never have to change hands, Andrea Henry, director of strategic communications for the Iowa Department of Transportation told DelawareOnline.

Delaware eyes digital driver’s licenses []

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