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Iowa DOT to roll out first phase of virtual ID by 2022

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 7:29 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Department of Transportation is developing a form of identification that can be accessed through smartphone devices. The DOT hopes to roll out the first phase of the program to a small number of users in January 2022.

“We’ve kind of taken our time in that development because our customer’s privacy and security have been at the forefront of our product,” said Andrea Henry, with the Iowa DOT.

The DOT hopes to then allow the general public to download the app sometime in the middle of 2022.

The virtual ID will not replace the physical card, but will become an option for users for convenience and security purposes.

“We already have boarding passes on our phones to get into airports, right, or to get into the border plane. We already link our credit cards or phones when you want to purchase something. And so this will add an extra layer of security to that thing that we already do,” said Brandon Blankenship, an analyst for Procircular Security.

Blankenship says virtual IDs can also be used as an additional form of authentication for things like purchases or online banking.

“Personal identifiers have been used in the digital world for a really long time. And we have social security numbers and bank account numbers, and IP addresses and cookies and tokens and session IDs, and so forth. So all of those things collectively say this is who I am,” said Blankenship.

The virtual ID will be a valid form of ID. Users will be able to present it to restaurants and bars, law enforcement, and airport security.

TSA released a statement to KCRG saying:

“TSA continues to work across industry and government stakeholders and partners on cutting edge technologies that enhance security, address the emerging threat environment, and improve the passenger experience. We appreciate the enthusiasm in our forward-leaning technologies, and we will continue to work with states and industry stakeholders in bringing this to implementation. TSA anticipates that more information will be available in the near future on implementation of a phased approach to rolling out the mobile driver’s license.”

Businesses will not be required to accept the virtual IDs as a valid form, but the Iowa DOT is working to train businesses on the benefits of the new technology.

“We’re working with them, not only to recognize that this is a valid form of ID but on how to accept those identifications because there are some security advantages to accepting a mobile ID,” said Henry. “There are some great benefits like they can share just their age if it’s an age-restricted product like tobacco or alcohol, and they don’t have to share all of the information that’s on their physical cards like their address or their height and weight,”.

DOT is developing the virtual ID with the International Organization for Standardization, as well as, American Motor Vehicle Administrators Association.

“What we really want to make sure is that users have a consistent experience, as well as, as users go state to state, they are able to utilize that mobile driver’s license or ID in the same fashion no matter where they go,”.

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