It started as a digital channel for credit cards and concert tickets, allowing anyone with an iPhone to wave through paylines and turnstiles.
The technology then expanded to vaccine passport records during the pandemic. And this week, Apple Wallet, an app for iPhones and Apple Watches that stores payment information and QR codes, added a driver’s license for the first time.
On Wednesday, Arizona became the first state to offer digital copies of driver’s licenses and state identification cards as part of a far-reaching partnership with Apple announced last year.
The project is expected to expand to Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah, as well as the territory of Puerto Rico. This initiative has been promoted by the tech giant and the states for its convenience.
However, the expansion is drawing new scrutiny over privacy issues and Apple’s overwhelming influence. Few places will accept a digital driver’s license at the start of the program, and Apple did not say when other states and Puerto Rico will join Arizona.
Arizona residents should stop throwing away their old driver’s licenses and government identification cards. Digital ones have no value if they are pulled over by the police or played at a bar.
Currently, digital licenses will only be accepted at select security checkpoints at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport by the Transportation Security Administration, a federal agency, officials. said.
As of Thursday, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, part of the Arizona Department of Transportation, estimated that 11,500 people had requested digital copies of their driver’s license or state ID card.
“If they like the technology and they want to be early adopters of it, by all means,” Bill Lamoreaux, a spokesman for the Department of Motor Vehicles in Arizona, said Thursday. “This is completely voluntary.”
When announcing the feature’s launch, Apple said residents in participating states can tap the plus sign in their Apple Wallet to add a license or state-issued ID card to their iPhone or Apple Watch. surname.
According to Apple, the process requires participants to take pictures of the front and back of the license with the phone’s camera, while completing a series of facial and head movements. Users must also provide a selfie sent to their state using encryption along with the photo in their license so that the local government can verify their identity.
It remains unclear how much it will cost states to review requirements related to digital licenses, which Apple and state officials say will not create additional costs for those who use them.
At airport security checkpoints, people with an iPhone or Apple Watch can hold the device up to the e-reader, which will then prompt them to use facial recognition, fingerprints, or a passcode on the phone. phone to agree to transmit their encrypted information to a TSA agent, Apple said.
The company emphasizes that personal information is not stored on Apple’s servers and that people will never have to hand over their phones to security officers.
But not everyone is optimistic about the ever-expanding technology.
“Apple is now trying to integrate your entire life into its phone vertically,” Elizabeth M. Renieris, founding director of the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab, said on Thursday. Six.
Professor Renieris said that while Apple is known for its strong encryption technology, she said the company is ready to collect even more information about customers’ daily habits and activities.
“They know how many times you’re doing it and they know when you’re doing it,” she said. “They are normalizing the presentation of identification and other login information. This also comes up on the back of the conversation around digital vaccine passports. ”
Residents of some states can request a digital copy of their coronavirus vaccination card. This card can be added to their Apple Wallet, which displays a QR code specific to that person. One of those states, Connecticut, plans to participate in Apple’s digital licensing program.
Tony Guerrera, deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, said Friday that the state is still evaluating the technology aspects of the initiative, including privacy concerns. The state does not have a timetable for when the digital licenses will be available, he said.
“We just want to make sure that all of our selves are dotted and all of our selves are cut off,” Mr. Guerrera said. “That’s why we don’t rush into the matter.”
Still, he said, he might see the appeal of being able to store a copy of the license on an iPhone or Apple Watch.
“Listen, in today’s tech world, I think a lot of people would love to have something like it,” he said. “Apple is a world-renowned corporation and they’ve done their research and they know that people want this.”