Driver License app

The great state of Iowa is looking to introduce the first Driver License application, reports the WSJ today. Currently in development for iOS and Android, the app wouldn’t replace plastic driver licenses but rather be a companion to the physical identification cards. The project, which was originally pegged for a 2015 release, has seen some setbacks due to security and privacy concerns. At this time, it is unknown when this state-endorsed app will be released.  

The main concern is about how a police officer would be supposed to interact with the device. What would happen for example if a text notification potentially incriminating the owner of the phone appeared while the officer is checking the validity of the license? That’s why the state is looking into ways to block all incoming notifications while the app is opened. Ideally, according to Andrea Henry, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Transportation, the phone would never leave the hands of the owner, allowing the police officer to electronically scan the license without touching the phone.

Also of concern is the use of fake driver license apps. If anything, driver license apps might be more prone to faking due to their nature. The state notes that in order to fight fakes, the photo on the license might move slightly so it can be clearly distinguished from a still screenshot. But again, this looks like something that could easily be faked, if you ask me.

Despite these technical limitations, this project is of course a very obvious evolution of where things are heading to. With our lives and devices being more mobile, it only seems natural that at one point or the other, we will all be carrying electronic IDs. It’s not so much a matter of “how,” but rather a matter of “when.”

MorphoTrust USA, the company charged to develop the app, already has experience working on driver license technology as the company is credited for creating the very first driver license with a photo, back in 1958. The firm is currently in talks with another 20 US states to digitalize driver licenses.

Note: the image at the top is not an actual depiction of what a driver license app would look like. This image was simply put together to illustrate the post. 

Source: WSJ

  • HeavyComponent

    Digital? Cool.

  • Curious why they used Alabama in the stock photo…?

    Surely I can’t be the only person who feels uncomfortable giving their device to an officer instead of a copy of my license even with things like Guided Access…

    • This is a made up photo I put together myself. Not an actual depiction of what it will look like.

    • Dani Hayes

      Once you give your device over they have full permission to go through your device.

  • Chris Gilmore

    I wouldn’t worry about giving a cop my phone for ID. But maybe that’s because I’m not a criminal.

    • therealjjohnson

      What if your wife decided to send you some nudes while the cop is holding your phone? Doesn’t always have to be a “criminal” element to privacy.

      • Chris Gilmore

        hahaha valid point. But I was just leaning towards more of the “incriminating” aspect. However, I’d hope my lovely wife’s picture could possibly get me out of the speeding ticket or whatever violation I was pulled over for. haha

      • Buzz { Light:Year; }

        Disable the notification where it shows the message

      • therealjjohnson

        Lol. If it got you out the ticket do you think you would tell her or keep it to yourself?

      • Tell her of corse lol, she knows what she’s getting in to sending in the first place ha.

      • Chris Gilmore

        Lol oh I’d tell her.

    • romeodesigns

      Have you not been watching the news? People have been literally been getting stomped for no reason, so if you’re given the chance to hand a license over, cool, but hand your phone over and all of your privacy info has now been handed to them. Think of it like this.
      Guy: why am I being stopped?
      Cop: do you mind if I have a look in your car? (As cop asks he quickly makes his way into your car)
      Guy: (no time to answer, so he just says sure and steps out of the way)
      Your rights were stripped without you realizing it.
      Imagine if they were given complete access into your life through your phone?
      And yes, they do have every right to go through your phone, because “YOU” just handed it over.

      • Bugs Bunnay

        this is the very reason the bill of rights was created. if you don’t know it then you might as well deserved to get stomped on. know your rights and put them in their place.

      • Your≠You’re

        “Knowing your rights” is great, but that “put them in their place” shit isn’t a luxury every citizen seems to have nowadays.

      • h4nd0fg0d

        Ya, and said rights don’t ever get compromised or taken advantage of on a daily basis. Cops do whatever, whenever they choose. Pretty much why I HATE them.

    • Arthur Geron

      The same way some citizens kill, murder and rape for no logical reason, some cops shoots, kill and arrest people for no logical reason. Imagine being stopped by a pissed of cop.

      • Then imagine you didn’t do anything wrong then they shot you for not doing anything wrong and then them getting away with it. The humanity.

      • Mgggb

        Surely you’re not trying to imply that mike brown being killed wasn’t justified?

      • Your≠You’re

        If he was, he’d be correct.

      • No just speaking in general. No one can know what actually happened that day. Just he say she say now.

    • quitcherbichinn

      It has nothing to do with whether you are a criminal or not. It has to do with your rights and having a cavalier attitude about it isn’t the right approach. If you allow them to encroach upon your rights they will keep doing so. One step leads to two and then three and so on. It’s a slippery slope and you need to be more mindful of that and care a bit more about it.

    • h4nd0fg0d

      I wld b concerned that the bumbling idiot may fumble me precious idevice to the asphalt.

    • Dani Hayes

      Once you give the officer your device they have full permission go through it. They cannot delete anything but they can snoop.

  • TonyHawkins

    What if they somehow came up with a solution where a policeman has an NFC reader and all the owner has to do is scan his fingerprint and the license is verified through the policeman’s reader? That sounds much more secure than putting a picture of a license inside an app.

    • Buzz { Light:Year; }

      With Obama I don’t know.

    • I don’t see why they even need to over-complicate this. If they’re gonna use a device of their own, why not save a helluva lot of time and money and just use a simple QR code for the officer to scan.

      • therealjjohnson

        Why doesn’t the officer just bring it up on his laptop thats in the car anyway lol

      • Kaptivator

        Because that’s to easy!

  • therealjjohnson

    All police have a laptop in the car that pulls up a pictute of your license anyway. If it doesn’t match then it’s fake. And they access that with or without your license. Searched by name or alias.

  • bolencki13

    I feel like this would be really easy to fake. Any I wouldn’t feel comfortable give my device over to a police officer. You never know what a person is going to text you. And if the cop is scanning the device how does the average user know they are only getting the license information and not anything else on the device. I think the idea behind it is good but there is still a lot of stuff that needs to be ironed out.

    • Bugs Bunnay

      what needs to be ironed out is that people should actually read the article and then comment on it. what you said is really conflicting.

  • Buzz { Light:Year; }

    Yeah when someone gets a hold of your phone. Yeah…..even with passcode and stuff the world is scary lol. I feel this would certainly be big.

  • Here in England, we have iPhone bus passes. And the way they’re shown to be legit is a mid-size box on the screen that has a live feed from the camera inside it.

  • john diaz

    Phones are taking over our lives. in a good way ! i just think it’s crazy how ,much these phones do for us.

  • Frank Anthony

    Is this even practical ? Mobile electronic ID is possible of-course but this… ha!

    • therealjjohnson

      I would prefer it actually. I would love not to carry a wallet. If it wasnt for my driver’s license, car insurance, and credit cards…I wouldnt carry one at all.

  • Nitsud

    lets just get to it and put some chips under our skin 😉 who’s down?

  • Hoho, soon people will be able to create a drivers license for any country they go to without actually taking the test…

    • therealjjohnson

      The drivers license would still have to be valid in the State’s Database.

  • Fanboy 

    Title: “app could soon replace your license”
    First paragraph: “the app wouldnt replace plastic driver licenses but rather..”

  • Great Scott

    Looking forward to the day where a guy gets arrested because his Driver’s License ran out of battery.

  • Your≠You’re

    No thanks… I’ve seen cops drop IDs several times. Hell, even my CAC at the gate gets dropped at least twice a week. No way I’d hand over a $700+ device. I’ll be holding onto my traditional license, thanks. They can go run that.

    • Bugs Bunnay

      did you even read the article? would you change your mind if your phone never left your hand?

      • Your≠You’re

        Is this all you’re doing, asking people if they read the article? Yes, I read it – in all its incarnations, from CNET to GIZMODO to ModMyi to iMore to USAToday… and none have a concrete explanation on exactly HOW this would be implemented. You know, because it HASN’T been yet. So… again… if it comes down to me having to hand over my phone – even if the officer does whatever he/she needs to do RIGHT THERE at my window or just needs to “verify” something (much like how you can’t just hold up your license today and appease a cop), I’m not with it.

      • Bugs Bunnay

        yes, basically. asking people if they read it and read it right. exactly how they implement it is their job and is obviously still being worked on. you just gotta take the spokesperson’s work for it. when the app is out and TOS says something different then you would know you’re not bound to keep the app. just delete it. so yeah, back to my second question. would you change your mind if your phone NEVER left your hand?

      • Your≠You’re

        My mind doesn’t need changing… handing over the device was my only concern, as I mentioned. I’m not against digital licenses or IDs… hell, even universal digital US driver’s licenses would be preferable for those who, like me, rarely live in the state in which they’re a legal resident. LEOs may have a different view. It would need to be something every state signs up for, all at the same time. Neighboring states, where one accepts it and the other doesn’t, would be the biggest early hurdle.

  • Guest

    A bunch of money to get those scanners, waste of money.

    • therealjjohnson

      I don’t think updating technology is a waste of money.

  • George

    Sounds like a disaster.

  • Alberto Espinal

    What if the cop drops my phone

  • ♋JULY 17♋

    They trying to make everything electronic so people wouldn’t have jobs anymore #facts

    • therealjjohnson

      That’s not a fact lol…

  • markelite

    Meh, hopefully not.

  • h4nd0fg0d

    And oh ya, license on phone, dumbest idea ever!!!!!!!!!!

  • cybersat

    An 16 years boy got stopped by state trooper and the trooper asked to see his driver license.
    His respond: “My battery phone just died but my license is in the phone, I swear”

  • therealjjohnson

    People in the comment section have jumped to the extreme. Where are the normal rationally thinking people? I would love to be able to use a digital representation of my drivers license. That doesn’t mean that you must get rid of your physical one. It doesn’t always have to be one or the other. Use it in conjunction with.

    While driving my phone is a lot more accessible (for me) than my wallet is. While headed to the gym, its easier to have once device. Dont jump out the window and scream like its the end of the world. Digital and physical can work together.

  • ck125

    Because nothing could possibly go wrong with this. What if your phone is dead? I’d still rather have a physical drivers license

  • singhay559

    Yes officer? Id and registration driver.
    Heres my phone id.
    Heres a ticket for having a phone in your hand.

  • JaeM1llz

    Will never happen. Someone could make a jailbreak tweak to display a fake license.

  • mobiIevids

    Not so cool if the officer drops my damn iPhone and cracks the screen.