Daniel Susco
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Driver’s License? There’s (Going To Be) an App for That

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You know those articles about how millennials are changing everything with their hashtags, and their Snapchats, and their smartphones?

Well, hold on to that last item in that list, for a moment, because a pilot program currently going on in four states and Washington, D.C., are testing the feasibility of replacing driver’s licenses with a cell phone app.


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Once you get past the knee-jerk moment of “those dang kids and their newfangled whatchacallits!” the program seems to make some sense. Instead of a plastic card that could be lost or chewed to uselessness by the new puppy, your driver’s license would exist in a mobile app that would only reveal certain information depending on who you were showing your ID to.

For example, when buying alcohol, the app could be used to just show the photo and that you are over 21. The cashier could then check your ID against a computer image and you are good to go. If you have been pulled over, by contrast, the whole license would be visible to the officer.

Of course, that particular eventuality is one of the big problems with the idea of an app-based ID, as not many people would be ok with handing over their unlocked phone, with all the potential details of their day-to-day life on it, to a police officer, or any stranger.


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The solution that the pilot is trying is making an app that is available separate from all the other information on your phone. Instead, you unlock the ID with a thumbprint or PIN, and hold it up to a reading device, similar to using a digital movie or concert ticket. Of course, this prospect doesn’t just make drivers nervous, it also worries attorneys who think that it could lead to government overreach and invasion of privacy, potentially leading to a national ID that would track everything about you.

The people running the program, however, assure those who are worried about national IDs that the mobile licenses would be only to be used like current physical licenses, and fall under the explicit control of the individual states.

The pilot will keep going for another year yet before its results will be examined.

News Source: Fox News

  • Daniel SuscoEditor

    Daniel Susco is a native of the Dayton-Cincinnati area, and has written on a multitude of subjects. He can discuss Shakespeare, expound on Classical Mythology, and even make witty jokes about Pliny the Elder (More like “Pliny the Rounder,” right?). In his free time, Daniel enjoys reading, cooking, woodworking, and long walks on the beach (just kidding – sunburn is no joke). See more articles by Daniel.