Iowa driver's license: now there's a mobile app option.

Iowa Will Let You Use a Mobile App As Your Driver's License

Iowa Will Let You Use a Mobile App As Your Driver's License

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Dec. 11 2014 4:50 PM

Iowa Will Let You Use a Mobile App As Your Driver's License

iowa
If you live in Iowa, your driver's license could go digital.

Image from Iowa Department of Transportation

There are a lot of mobile wallets out there. Apple Pay, Coin, Google Wallet, and others are all trying to turn your bulky physical billfold into a sleek digital system. All you need is a smartphone. And now there's a way to take your digital wallet a step further, but it's not coming from Silicon Valley. It's straight from the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Beginning sometime in 2015, the state will offer a free app that will display an official driver's license. According to the Des Moines Register, during a budget hearing on Monday, Iowa DOT Director Paul Trombino told Gov. Terry Branstad, "We are really moving forward on this, ... It is basically your license on your phone." He added, "The way things are going, we may be the first in the nation."

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The app will require a PIN before it displays the driver's license, and the Iowa DOT claims that the app will be very secure, "an identity vault app." Physical licenses will still be available, but the digital version will be accepted for traffic stops, at Iowa airports, and in other situations where people need to show their ID in the state. More than 30 states, including Iowa, currently allow drivers to show electronic proof of insurance during traffic stops.

The approach has potential to cut down on fake IDs and help people keep their personal data secure, but it could also make it easier to fabricate a license depending on the security measures in the app and how wily criminals want to get.

The Register reports that the Iowa DOT is testing a number of digital strategies, including dashboard snowplow cameras and driver's license kiosks. Who would have thought that a DMV could be a hotbed for innovation?

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