The New York Department of Motor Vehicles is developing a mobile driver’s license (MDL) solution that it aims to roll out by the end of this year.
The effort was confirmed by DMV commissioner Mark Schroeder in a budget hearing, but the authorities are being tight-lipped about the MDL for the time being. Responding to an inquiry from The Citizen, a spokesperson said it is “too early in the process to talk about where or how it might be used.”
Nor is is it clear whether the DMV’s MDL is connected to a broader state effort to embrace digital ID. State Governor Kathy Hochul has reportedly been leading a digital transformation project for government services, with one aim being to make online access easier and more accessible. Multiple agencies have been testing a digital ID solution called “NY.gov ID+” that is designed to replace a number of disparate login systems.
New York is, of course, not alone in its pursuit of mobile ID technology, with states like Maryland and Utah having launched their own such solutions. The latter recently enabled a self-enrolment system for residents interested in mobile ID that uses facial recognition and digital ID technologies from FaceTec, Scytales, and GET Group North America.
While these innovations appear to be picking up steam, privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation are observing the trend with some concern. As The Citizen reports, one EFF representative emphasized that enrolment in digital ID programs should not be made mandatory for citizens. (The MDLs in Utah and Maryland are optional for drivers.)
MDL advocates, meanwhile, argue that they can help to protect users’ privacy by giving them more control over what information they share. Apple’s MDL solution, for example, is designed to let travelers confirm their identities at airports with a contactless scan at an ID reader, and no need to present the ID itself, with its biographic information, to a human agent.
Source: The Citizen (via GovTech)