Nowadays, everything around us is going mobile and things that have not yet gone mobile are evolving to do so. Smart banking, control of smart homes, and other newer technologies do not seem foreign now. People seek mobile solutions to their everyday tasks.
With everything being digitized, making a driver’s license go mobile is apparently the next big thing. A few states have started on it already. Like many documents these days, what will likely come to be known as a digital driver’s license shall reside on your smart phone. Imagine if you needed to provide proof of identity but left your wallet at home. You could have a digital driver’s license in your smartphone come to the rescue (we are betting you would more likely forget your wallet over your phone). This digital version of your driver’s license would look like your printed one having the same information plus a scanned barcode that can be read by the machines. With convenience being able to complete transactions just by scanning a bar code on your phone to either discount a purchase or pay for it, it was only a matter of time before similar technology would be pursued to be a form of proof of identity. But this digital driver’s license shall be more than your regular driver’s license look-alike. It is going to be a complete mobile app that has complete security protection and real-time data downloaded directly from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Gemalto, NIST, and DMVs
Gemalto, a technologies and services company, was awarded a government grant of $2M to support certain motor vehicle departments in their testing and implementation of Digital Driver’s License (DDL). The grant, awarded by the U.S National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is for the funding of pilot programs in four jurisdictions, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland and Washington D.C. In these states, development of smart phone based credentials as well as development and implementation of an interoperable solution that will allow other jurisdictions to follow-suit and share necessary information is underway. This might be the future of trusted identities.
Gemalto is well versed in the continuos trends towards digital dependence along with consumer mobility. It shall be guiding the states while they address this digital transformation of driver’s license for smartphone users. Data shows that 86% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 own a smartphone and the participating jurisdictions wish to target this demographic through technology. This mobile movement is particularly widespread among the younger driving generation and millennial demographic.
Other Authentication and Identify Investments in the Digital World
Similar programs like the ongoing expansion of ID.me’s solutions for verifying digital credentials have also gained acknowledgement (although not direct funding) from the US Chamber of Commerce’s NIST branch. ID.me built a program that helped verify a person’s military affiliation online that allowed them to access the discounts and benefits they were eligible for in recognition of their service. The company also worked with the City of Austin in Texas to create a blueprint for digital authentication and with the state of Maine to develop a federated identity model for applications to increase citizen access to benefits.
Some remarkable similarities in the potential benefits and challenges are present in this national eID scheme. In numerous countries, states are stepping up to include the aspect of digital identity as a defining feature with good security, protection, computing and digital space of trust. Oh, what the future holds!