Mind blowing fact: Over 5 billion people are estimated to shift towards digital identities by 2024. People with smartphones that hold everything from credit cards to hotel reservations may soon be able to add a new feature: their driver’s license.
The world is rapidly evolving towards mobile and digital formats for many of our everyday tasks. One of the key drivers for this trend is the convenience that it brings – it’s quick, simple and efficient. And one of the widely used documents used for identity verification, the driver’s license, is taking the same route.
Juniper Research’s - Digital Identity: Technology Evolution, Regulatory Analysis & Forecasts 2019-2024 - highlights that the adoption of digital identities across Europe and the Americas will be largely led by digital driving licenses, rather that the government sector.
Gone are the days when a physical driver’s license was just a license to drive. Today, a driving license check helps you verify your identity and the license is used for a myriad of purposes beyond just driving a vehicle. Moreover, government-issued driver’s licenses are perhaps the identity documents that individuals rely on the most.
With digital wallets and mobile transactions seeing a steep climb in usage, it’s no surprise that traditional identification documents are also inching their way into the digital identity space.
Strong verification to drive adoption of digital driving license checks
The vast majority – over 96% of Americans – own a mobile phone, making the shift towards a digital model largely successful. With this rise in user adoption, a Deloitte report highlighted that a document identification in the form of digital driver’s licenses is a solution that would be highly beneficial for everyone, if security and privacy are not compromised.
This can be done by enabling strong, secure driver license checkers. Driving license checks will verify the authenticity of the customer and ensure that the person is who they claim to be – even keeping teenagers from gaming the system.
Test driving a digital driver’s license
One of the biggest advantages of a digital driver’s license is that it can be verified simply through biometrics, using forensic data or by scanning a quick response (QR) code a user gets through an app on their phone. This completely removes the need for a traditional physical card that reveals sensitive details like the user’s address or driver’s license number.
“It reduces dramatically the chances that that driver’s license is a counterfeit document and verifies that it belongs to you,” said Ian Grossman, a Vice President at the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, several states across the United States are looking at rolling out systems to make driving license checks a trusted, strongly proofed form of online user identification.
“Driver’s licenses are a common part of our daily lives for proof of age and identity in situations such as going through airport security, checking into a hotel and purchasing alcohol or tobacco,” said Randy Vanderhoof, Executive Director of the Secure Technology Alliance.
“Digital identities that bring the same assurance as state-issued driver’s licenses can provide greater utility and privacy for these types of transactions, and secure identity verification to others such as online transactions,” he remarked.
They’re more adaptable to changing security threats vs their physical counterparts
When it comes to digital forms of the driver’s license, there are additional layers of security that enable the system to first make driving license checks, confirm the authenticity of the user through strong identity proofing technologies, before verifying the user and generating a digital identity.
The security benefits aren’t limited to just driving license checks – updates to the physical license can get cumbersome, particularly with renewal periods that run up to 8 years. With a digital identity, however, you have ample room to make updates and implement fixes.
Once the basic driving license checks are done, digital driver’s licenses can be used to fastrack several other processes – be it inconsistencies across other government-issued identity documents or to use the digital driver’s license for verification ahead of accessing online tools or signing up for car sharing services.
With a strong driver license checker, the driver’s app would be able to notify the person or the platform running the driving license checks. The device-to-device exchange would enable the user implementing the driving license checks to authorize information exchange and verify that the person is indeed who they claim to be.
“The really powerful thing is that once we bind you to that credential and verify it, you can use it for hunting and fishing licenses, weapons’ permits, tax returns — all sorts of things,” said Mark Lowe, director of the state Department of Transportation. “There’s a ton of convenience and efficiencies.”
In the United States, the transportation authority has set in motion plans to roll out digital driver’s licenses across six states. In an attempt to enhance security, officials hope app-based encrypted digital driver’s licenses will boost law enforcement, achieve significant cost savings and operational efficiencies.
In law enforcement, requests for information from a specific mobile phone or laptop can be run remotely by police officers. This will be sent to the user’s device and can be used for driving license checks without installing any additional hardware.
“This is a quantum leap improvement over what has been the traditional model for how we ask for and receive identification,” said Geoff Slagle, Director of identity management at the motor vehicle administrators’ association (MVA). He also anticipates that over time, every state will eventually shift to this model and offer digital licenses.
“It is not a question of whether or not this is happening, it’s a question of how fast this happens,” Slagle remarked. “We’re going to do this as fast as we can, but we want to make sure that we get it right.”
How digital identity platforms enable the shift to digital driver’s licenses
Digital driver’s licenses are embracing a new era of digital identity. Over 225 million physical driver’s licenses were issued in the US alone so far. In a few years, they could be added as an app on our phones or an additional card to our online wallet.
Digital driver’s licenses are gaining momentum across several countries including the United Kingdom, USA, Netherlands and Australia – powered by online driving license checks with a focus on digital privacy and security.
Within minutes, mobility and transportation companies, or others looking to use driving licenses as ID documents, are able to embed just a few lines of code into their platform or app - and in a couple of seconds, verify the true identity of their users.
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The platform uses facial recognition technology to create a universally trusted digital identity that can be used to verify someone’s driver’s license. It also empowers the user with more control over their personal data. The user gets to decide what information should be shared and whom to share it with.