The technology industry is asking the Biden administration to prioritize the development of digital driver’s licenses. The President promised to fight identity fraud in his State of the Union address in January, and is expected to follow through with an executive order that tackles the subject sometime in the near future.
A coalition of six technology trade groups have now penned a letter to the President to outline what they believe such an order should contain. In that regard, they argue that digital driver’s licenses would help reduce benefits fraud, and give private businesses a better (and more uniform) way to verify the identities of their customers.
As it relates to benefits fraud, the letter notes that cybercriminals frequently targeted benefits and relief programs during the pandemic, and may have walked away with hundreds of billions of dollars in ill-gotten funds. Digital driver’s licenses would have given government agencies a more reliable way to authenticate applicants remotely, and made it far more difficult for fraudsters to execute their attacks.
That’s also why the trade groups believe that Biden’s executive order needs to go beyond the mere creation of digital documents to cover validation services and digital identity proofing. Validation allows people to use digital driver’s licenses in a wider range of settings (rather than just on the road), which should in turn help streamline and boost trust in a wide range of business operations. The trade groups specifically want to be able to cross reference the information in a digital driver’s license with the information stored in official government records to determine whether or not the digital document is authentic.
Such a service could be deployed across the public and private sector to deliver a more consistent experience for end users. Digital IDs could be used to log into online services, or as proof of identity in physical settings like airport security lanes. Several states are already moving forward with plans for mobile driver’s licenses, though the federal government has yet to create a framework to recognize those documents at the national level.
The Better Identity Coalition, the Cybersecurity Coalition and the Chamber of Commerce’s Technology Engagement Center are some of the groups that signed the letter to President Biden. The letter goes on to encourage the President to create a single support service for those who have been the victims of identity theft, or who have trouble obtaining an ID within the current system.