December 2015



iStock 000005913775Medium 1Working to Validate Online Presence

An electronic ID (eID) is something that has been needed for a while, and although we’re just in the beginning stages of the process, I think this is going to be a huge win for the public.

Any time you have to identify yourself, the first thing you’re asked for is your driver’s license. Taking that a step further, there needs to be a similar product to identify yourself online. To do that, we need to do what we do in a DMV office and tokenize it so you can have an online identity that matches your physical identity.

The AAMVA Card Design Standards and eID Working Groups are coming together to discuss the mobile driver’s license (mDL) and decide how it needs to mature and become a national standard. We will be monitoring the Iowa DOT mDL pilot program—in fact, a member of the Working Group is from Iowa—to look at the lessons learned in order to incorporate that information into our direction moving forward. We are hoping to create standards that states can use, we believe, as the best path to go down to have an mDL or eID.

Initially, states are picking up mDLs quicker than eIDs because they’re more similar to insurance companies providing an insurance card on a mobile device. It’s the next logical step for a customer. Florida is looking at the mDL and eID as something to pursue in the future. I’m not sure how we will go about that yet, but we’re closely monitoring the Iowa program to see the results and how well the public embraces it.

By being able to validate that you are who you say you are through online documentation and credentialing by the state, your online presence becomes just as valid as your offline presence. Eventually, you should be able to use one authentication method issued by a state authority for every website. It will make the lives of our citizens a little easier.

iStock 000005913775Medium 2Impact on Police Operations

It is exciting to see that Iowa has taken the first steps to implement mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs) and is leading the way for the nation in providing a service many citizens want. However, we must recognize that mDL technology is in its infancy stage.

Iowa’s pilot program has identified immediate challenges that need to be addressed. The software system must address security concerns to ensure the data is not breached or compromised. The technology itself depends on Wi-Fi and must stand alone, offline, and contain current, “real-time” information. Additionally, when cellphone providers send updates to the system, the mDL software must be compatible to accept the upgrades without interfering with the system. The biggest challenge, however, will be educating and transitioning the public and businesses to support mDLs as legitimate government-issued IDs.

Successful implementation of mDLs also depends on software vendors and what they can develop and provide to law enforcement, which wants to use the technology in its daily operations. The mDL could streamline law enforcement’s current processes, making them more reliable and effective, because it would allow officers to quickly process information directly from the source (the DMV, court system, etc.). The benefits it could afford to law enforcement are limitless and would have a definite impact on police operations.

Software vendors of mDLs are aware of the public’s possible unwillingness or reluctance to hand over their cellphones to officers due to privacy issues. Security and privacy is paramount for the California DMV, and it will work closely with the contracted vendor to ensure privacy concerns are mitigated and the highest security standards are implemented. Vendors are working on options that provide layered security technology to protect digital information. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cellphones are protected from warrantless searches.

In my opinion, the implementation of the digital driver’s license will be legislated, litigated and finally accepted. However, there are several components that I already mentioned that are required before California can implement mDLs. First and foremost, legislation must be enacted to give the DMV the authority to conduct a study and/or pilot program. On Oct. 9, 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have allowed the DMV to develop an application for an mDL, saying, “I don’t believe this bill is advisable,” given the many new responsibilities the DMV is undertaking. With technology constantly evolving, I speculate it won’t be long until a new bill is proposed that allows California to pilot a program similar to Iowa’s.

iStock 000005913775Medium 3aThe Secret Weapon

Everything is becoming digital. And when talking about electronic identity (eID), you can’t have that discussion without including mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs).

It’s clear the needs of our customers are changing, and we are actively trying to be ahead of that. I think people across the nation are excited about mDLs because they’re an opportunity to provide information in a more efficient, “real-time” environment. DMVs are the secret weapon in the mDL and eID world because we’re the record holders and the entities that verify you are who you say you are.

We’re all learning from Iowa’s pilot mDL program. It’s really going to help influence future legislation and states’ decisions to implement it. The fact that Iowa’s so involved with AAMVA and provides feedback and results from testing is great. Communication among groups is extremely important as we work toward a standard credential that’s recognized by every jurisdiction, because it’s only useful if it’s accepted.

Should legislation come in Kansas, I think we’d be prepared to respond. If we go down that path, we would want to partner with our law enforcement agencies to make sure we are meeting their needs as well. As we watch to see how Iowa’s pilot works out, there are definitely things that need to be in place. The joint eID and Card Design Standards Working Group is discussing possible implications of an mDL, such as privacy and liability. As we move forward with this discussion, input from AAMVA’s Driver and Law Enforcement Standing Committees will be critical in determining standards and best practices.

When you think about this world of electronic identity and being able to have an electronic credential at your fingertips, you think about the huge area of opportunity. There will be a time in near the future when you will be using an mDL and a verified source of electronic identity. I am very excited to be a part of the conversation, and I look forward to the future of this technology.