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Iowa expected to launch digital driver’s license by end of year

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 7:34 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The Iowa Dept. of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division is expected to launch their digital driver’s license, or ‘Mobile ID’, by the end of this year.

The program has been in the works for years. It will become available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play and allow Iowans to add a driver’s license to their devices.

“We know that individuals have many things that would have traditionally been in a wallet. Now reside on their smartphone. The driver’s license is one of the major components that still needs to transition to that digital wallet concept,” Melissa Gillett, Director of the Iowa Dept. of Transportation - Motor Vehicle Division, said.

After a user downloads the application, they begin the enrollment process by entering personal information and scanning the front and back of their driver’s license.

“That’s looking to ensure the security features we expect to see are indeed on that card,” Gillett said.

A user would then use their device to take a selfie the state would use to compare with the picture already on file.

The digital identification offers and added convenience, but also the ability to minimize the amount of personal information being displayed on screen or that is shared with another party.

“So if it’s only an age related purchase for example where you need to show your age to purchase something, you wouldn’t necessarily need to show your address. So it provides the opportunity to only share the minimized data that would be necessary for that particular transaction,” Gillett said.

Although the rollout process hasn’t begun, it’s a step towards a new way to show identification that could become custom around the country.

“It’s supplemental to the physical card, but I could foresee some establishments could when they seek to see your ID, they could accept that mobile ID,” Gillett said.

The state is working on final development and testing to make sure the app is secure. One portion includes storing the mobile ID directly on your device and not through an internet server.

Five other states have already started a similar program. Utah and Florida have intentions of launching their programs by next year.

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