Delaware Aims to be First State to Issue Digital Driver's License


Delaware is looking to become the first state to offer digital driver's licenses, which can be accessed by drivers through an app for smartphones.

"We'd like to go first," said Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles director Jennifer Cohan, who is also the nominee of the state governor for secretary of transportation.

"If it works for Delaware, then it will be a new option for Delaware citizens to show proof of driver's license and identification," Cohan added.

The Delaware Senate adopted a resolution last week that directed the agency led by Cohan to study the possible implementation of digital driver's licenses. The House, however, has not yet considered the proposal.

Cohan revealed that if meetings regarding the project go well, then the state could start testing the technology sooner than later, as the state rushes to become the first one to offer the technology to drivers.

Delaware shares a vendor for driver's licenses with Iowa and 40 other states. Iowa is also attempting to become the first state to release digital driver's licenses, and is already crafting a pilot program for the implementation of the technology. Iowa is looking to roll out the app for digital driver's licenses next year.

MorphoTrust USA started developing the concept of a mobile app that carries digital versions of driver's licenses a couple of years ago.

MorphoTrust USA VP for state and local sales Jenny Openshaw said that as smartphones become more of digital wallets to its users, a driver's license could become the last plastic card that drivers will be carrying in the future. As such, the time has come for the development and implementation of the technology.

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles, however, will not be entirely eliminating the driver's licenses that are made out of hard plastic. Officials said that drivers will have the option to have a digital version of their license, in addition to the physical copy.

The app for digital driver's licenses will be displaying data about the user that are usually found on the licenses, including the name, photo, address, birthdate and signature of the driver. The app will be implementing security measures such as fingerprint, voice or facial recognition, on top of a personal identification number, to make sure that only the owner of the license is able to access it.

Experts in cybersecurity have expressed concerns on the implementation of such technology over the data security and privacy of its users, including the information that the app will collect when acquiring the digital copy of the user's license. 

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