Utah introducing mobile driver’s license program

Photo Courtesy: Utah Department of Public Safety

UTAH, March 31, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Department of Public Safety’s Driver License Division is introducing a mobile driver license (mDL) and identification card pilot program.

“In addition to the convenience aspect of adding the primary form of identification to Utahns’ mobile phones, the primary benefit the mDL will offer Utahns is enhanced privacy by minimizing the amount of personal data they share, in contrast to what they now share when handing over a physical card,” according to a Utah DPS news release. “Utah’s mDL will be the first in the nation that will incorporate the industry standards established for privacy, security, interoperability, and authenticity.”

The pilot program is now ready to begin with approximately 100 select participants and will expand to 10,000 participants including the broader public later in the year.

What Utah’s mDL Is

Utah’s mDLs are a secure, contactless digital form of ID that give citizens control of the personal information they share with businesses. The pilot project aims to establish acceptance of the mDL by Utahns through use in real-world scenarios such as banking, travel, traffic stops, and restaurant and liquor store transactions that require age verification. The mDL is accessed through an app that users download to their mobile device and entities such as banks or grocery stores will utilize a reader that will request, receive and verify the integrity and authenticity of the mDL by accessing the DLD’s information infrastructure.

First mDL to Incorporate Privacy and Security Standards

What makes Utah’s mDL unique and pioneering is what it’s not: it’s not just a photo or digital representation of your driver license, the news release said. “Unlike other pilot programs, Utah’s mDL fully utilizes standards outlined by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators in their mDL Implementation Guidelines and established by the International Organization for Standards,” the news release stated. “These standards provide the benefit of cryptographic proof of identity that cannot be achieved by simply showing your phone screen to a clerk at a business. They establish the standards by which an mDL and mDL reader will access the DLD’s infrastructure in order to verify the information contained in the mDL.”

Selective Data Sharing

Utah’s mDL will allow users to have control over data minimization, which is a primary component of privacy, the news release said. Data minimization means that a mDL holder can release only select data elements to a verifying entity. This stands in contrast to sharing all data as individuals do now when they hand over a physical card. For example, when using a mDL to prove one’s age, the mDL holder can limit data release to only a portrait image and the fact that the mDL holder is older than 18. This privacy aspect is a primary benefit to Utahns who utilize the mDL.

“Our Driver License Division is committed to working with residents and stakeholders to implement a solution which provides the highest value to Utahns: one which is accepted anywhere, provides enhanced privacy, security and personal control,” said DPS Commissioner Jess L. Anderson. “Your privacy is of the utmost importance to us. The mDL gives you control over your data. You choose what information to share when your identification is requested.”

Utah State Senator Lincoln Fillmore led the efforts to get the mobile driver license piloted in the state. Following the passage of Senator Fillmore’s SB100 during the 2019 legislative session, the Driver License Division began the process of studying the cost, process and vendors necessary to implement mDL in the state.

For additional information about the mDL, click here.


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