Delaware tests digital driver’s license app

DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan shows her digital driver's license on her cellphone. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan shows her digital driver's license on her cellphone. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Delaware is testing a digital driver’s license that can be accessed on a smart phone.

The pilot program will allow the mobile licenses to be tested at a variety of locations. “We’re working with state police, we’re working with a few casinos, we’re working with a few private folks across the state just to make sure that they understand what we’re doing,” said DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan. “The technology is solid. We’re good with that.”

An example of the new mobile driver’s license now being tested in Delaware. (photo courtesy DelDOT)

The mobile licenses are designed to improve security and better protect personal privacy. Delaware’s version will allow users to control how much information is shared when using their license as a proof of age to enter a bar or purchase alcohol. “Over time, your driver’s license has kind of become your ticket to everything, and there’s a lot of personal information on your driver’s license that not everybody needs to have,” Cohan said.

The digital license can also create a smoother exchange during a police traffic stop. Using Bluetooth technology, an officer could request a copy of a driver’s digital license before ever approaching their vehicle. The driver would still have the option not to share their digital license.

The digital license could also alert its owner to a change in their status, whether they failed to pay a ticket or are facing some other action. “You would automatically know, and you wouldn’t get into a situation where you could potentially get pulled over and get your driver’s license suspended for something like a parking violation that you didn’t know about,” Cohan said.

The app can only be opened by a separate log in or facial recognition. That’s just one of many security features built into the app. The picture on the license continually moves, making it harder to fake. “We’ve kind of dubbed the moving head … the Harry Potter effect,” Cohan said. “There’s lots of different security features within the app itself, I can’t tell you all of them, but you can do everything that you need to do with a regular driver’s license with this app.”

The pilot program is being run by the Delaware DMV and IDEMIA Identity and Security Business.

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