Georgia has become the fourth state to welcome Apple’s mobile driver’s license, though the digital ID’s use cases currently remain limited to passenger processing at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport — and to those who are members of the TSA PreCheck expedited screening program.
The functionality means that travelers can tap their iPhone or Apple Watch at a dedicated reader in order to confirm their identity without having to take out a physical ID. A fingerprint or face scan is required on the iOS device in order to authenticate the transaction, infusing biometric security into the air travel screening process.
At Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Apple’s mobile ID essentially presents another alternative to traditional security screening. TSA PreCheck already provides members with expedited screening through biometric scans; likewise, another biometric screening program, CLEAR, is also in place.
There’s no other official use for Apple’s mobile ID in the state as of yet. Police authorities will still demand physical identity documents when an identity check is required.
Nevertheless, the launch offers a symbolic marker of progress for Apple’s MDL. It has the official approval of the Georgia Department of Driver Services, and of the Transportation Security Administration. As FindBiometrics Editor in Chief Peter Counter remarked in conversation with GET Group NA Director of Mobile Product Development David Kelts at FindBiometrics’ most recent Virtual Identity Summit, many smaller organizations, including business, may reason that if a given digital ID solution is good enough for the TSA, it is likely suitable for them, too. GET Group NA is the company behind Utah’s mobile driver’s license program; and Kelts strongly emphasized the importance of relying party support in mobile ID adoption.
Apple’s progress in rolling out its mobile driver’s license has been gradual. After being unveiled in June of 2021, it didn’t go live until March of 2022, when it launched in Arizona. It then arrived in Maryland in May, and in Colorado in November.
Apple has been in talks with a number of states about official rollouts. Its negotiations with officials in Georgia were first reported in summer of 2021; Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Utah were in the mix, too.
May 19, 2023 – by Alex Perala & Peter Counter