The Transportation Security Administration is seeking public comment on a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” that would allow the continued use of mobile driver’s licenses even after the Real ID requirement takes effect in May of 2025.
REAL ID is a federal ID standard that will be required from US travelers seeking to board domestic flights or access certain federal facilities. But with the TSA now experimenting with accepting mDLs such as Apple’s digital ID, the organization wants to make sure that such innovation isn’t stifled when REAL ID takes effect.
“TSA fully supports the integration of digital identity technology, including mobile driver’s licenses, as part of our transportation security framework,” explained TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “This incremental approach balances security and passenger experience, encourages digital identity innovation and investment and ensures that we honor the intent of the REAL ID Act.”
The mDLs approved for use in pilots by the TSA are compliant with the new CAT-2 terminals that the agency has been deployed at airports across the country. The terminals are equipped with face-scanning technology designed to match travelers to their physical IDs, but also feature the ability to read mobile IDs on travelers’ smartphones.
Biometric identity verification still comes into play in these transactions. Apple’s mDL, for example, involves an elaborate registration process asking the end user to undergo a selfie video involving certain head movements to verify liveness, with facial recognition matching the user to their physical ID. Once that process is complete, the user can then access their mDL with a biometric scan on their iPhone, and share its data with the TSA’s readers.
In its request for comment, the TSA noted that is has approved multiple mDLs for testing purposes: Apple mDLs issued in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, and Maryland; GET Group’s mDL in Utah; Google’s mDL in Maryland, IDEMIA’s mDL in Iowa, and a Spruce-made solution that is now being piloted in California.
The TSA will accept comments until October 16, 2023.
August 30, 2023 – by Alex Perala