Georgia to allow use of digital licenses on smartphones


Jaylon Brooks

Georgia is one of the first states to allow the use of driver’s licenses that are digitally stored onto smartphones, effective next year.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this change was included in a statement from Apple commending G.A. after it green-lighted citizens using a secure copy of their driver’s license or state ID on their iPhone via the Apple Wallet app.

Apple also stated that the Federal Transport Security Association has agreed to accept digital copies of licenses and IDs at specific airport security checkpoints.

“I’ve watched people use QR codes as their boarding pass to get on airplanes so you could tell this was coming,” said Doug Oetter, GC professor of geography. “It’s clear that phones are our new ID systems, and like bank accounts this is just one more app that’s gonna allow us to access our resources.”

The way it works is similar to biometric ID verification, with Apple users having to take a picture of their card and face from different angles, according to Vox Media.

When entering into select TSA lanes, it only takes a simple tap of your iPhone or Apple watch onto an identity reader. Directly after, the information requested by the TSA will be displayed. The Apple user will then be prompted to authorize the sending over of their data via facial recognition or touch ID, according to Vox Media.

“Driver’s license information has been maintained electronically by state governments for close to 20 years. Credit cards, proof of insurance, etc. are already being stored in e-wallet technology,” stated Frank Richardson, GC lecturer of computer science.

Despite the use of the e-wallet for other important items, some people have expressed concerns over possible issues with privacy that the app may pose to users.

For example, Oetter expressed the desire of not wanting to leave too many digital footprints, should they be corrupted or stolen. GC freshman Carly Bales, special education major, doesn’t see the digital license as a necessity and prefers having something tangible.

“I think it could lead to issues with privacy if there isn’t enough protective software put in place,” said Jared Bryant, GC public health senior.

Others aren’t deterred by the possibility of an invasion of privacy or identity theft from using the app.

“I don’t think that just putting your license on your phone will make it less secure with your data,” said Dr. Jenq-Feung Yao, professor of computer science.

Regardless of feelings on the matter, progress can’t be stopped and technology will continue to become more and more advanced, and digital licenses are just an example of this driving force.