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Iowa to Take Driver’s Licenses Digital

December - 2014
By SPN Staff Writers in Breaking News Technology

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Music, loyalty cards and payments have all gone digital. Next on the list is driver’s licenses.

The state of Iowa is hoping to launch the country’s first free driver’s license app that can co-exist with the traditional plastic card.

The app, which is expected to be available sometime next year, will not eliminate the traditional driver’s license, but it will give people the option to go digital.

Iowa Department of Transportation director Paul Trombino described the new digital license as “an identity vault app” that will be accepted by state police officers during traffic stops as well as by airport security officers.

“It is basically your license on your phone,” he was quoted by the Des Moines Register.

Trombino, according to the article, said the app would be very secure and users would need a pin number for verification.

“Having this really allows people to protect their identify,” he said, adding that the same technology could be used for other types of state licenses.

The issue yet to be addressed, however, is privacy.

If a person were to be pulled over by police for speeding, for instance, would that driver then, without qualm, simply hand the officer his or her Smartphone for the officer to take back to the cruiser to verify the information? In an increasingly privacy-conscious nation, how many people would want to hand over their phone?

According to CNet, the Iowa DoT is currently mulling over the options.

Iowa’s DoT director of strategic communication Andrea Henry told CNet the department is “looking at technology that might lock the rest of your phone and only leave the driver’s license app open.”

The department is also examining technology that would enable the officer to scan the license right on the person’s phone as he or she holds it.

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