Google’s mobile ID solution has arrived in Maryland, making the state the first in the country to let residents use a digital ID on both Android and iOS.
Maryland first enabled support for virtual IDs in the Apple Wallet last May, letting residents upload their driver’s license or state ID to the app through a selfie-based identity verification process. Now, Android users can do much the same, with a verification process that asks them to perform certain face gestures, presumably for liveness detection.
The Android version of the digital ID is, like the iOS version, limited to official use at the airport checkpoints, both at the BWI Marshall Airport and at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. But the new system can help to protect users’ privacy, limiting the amount of personal information that needs to be shared at TSA checkpoints.
And an expansion beyond airport applications is in store. The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration – or MDOT MVA – says it is “actively talking to partners and law enforcement” about expanding the utility of the digital ID to interactions with police and businesses in the future.
That disclosure comes as Apple prepares to launch business-focused ID functionality into its Apple Wallet this autumn. In a statement issued this week, the tech giant asserted that businesses will be able to check a customer’s age for purchases of restricted goods like alcohol, and to verify their identity for car rentals, using the mobile ID.
The process will be pretty much as simple as it is now at airport processing: The customer will simply hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near the participating business’s iPhone, which will use contactless communications to read the virtual ID’s information – without any need for the customer to present any extraneous personal information by showing a physical ID. The contactless transaction will be approved through biometric authentication on the customer’s device, ie. a Touch ID fingerprint scan or Face ID facial recognition.
With the announcement, Apple is clearly following through on its notice at the end of last year that its customers would be able to use their digital IDs “at retailers and venues” in the future. And its efforts would seem to dovetail with those of the MDOT MVA as various entities across the public and private sector seek to realize the potential of mobile ID technology.
June 13, 2023 – by Alex Perala