An App for Your Driver’s License? Are Wallets Going Extinct?

The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced plans to offer apps for drivers that allow the display of users’ official drivers licenses. Currently, thirty states allow drivers to show proof of insurance via smartphone app and advocates of the drivers license app say showing prove of licensure via smartphone is a natural extension. Iowa plans to accept the drivers license app during traffic stops and airport security screenings beginning in 2015.

However, industry professional have voiced concerns that the storage of such information in the hands of law enforcement officials may allow unhindered access to private data. Heidi Shey, an analyst with Forrester, says,

The privacy concerns that have been brought up already about this are all worth considering. Putting a driver’s license on a smartphone app leaves the door open to privacy violations simply due to device access.”

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that police need warrants to search cellphones in order to perform legal search and seizure or the property. A perceived drawback of the new technology is the potential for police to see information not intended for them- for example, should a text message appear when a law official is checking a driver’s license.

Alan Butley, senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center says,

It raises questions about what information the app is collecting, how the information is being secured, and what information is being exchanged at the point of use It raises questions about what information the app is collecting, how the information is being secured, and what information is being exchanged at the point of use.”

Whether or not the cited privacy concerns will be taken into account by developers, innovators continue to create new technology hoping to bring more convenience to the consumer. Are wallets going extinct?

 

Read more here- “Iowa Pursues a Virtual  Driver’s License App,” (Natasha Singer, The New York Times)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.

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