Apple is Becoming a Digital ID Company
With the incredible success of Apple’s wearables and Apple Pay with the Apple Watch, Apple has a unique opportunity. So you thought the future of digital ID was going to be decentralized? Think again.
Apple is rolling out new digital driver’s license in select states and a Vaccine passport as well. This is what the VP looks like.
This is what the digital DL looks like:
Who needs plastic cards in 2021? Not those shiny iOS users at least. Apple is hoping it can save you the hassle of digging up an email or carrying a physical card in your pocket. The company is bringing verifiable COVID-19 vaccination cards to Wallet as part of a future iPhone software update.
Apple’s plan to digitize your wallet is slowly taking shape. What started with boarding passes and venue tickets later became credit cards, subway tickets and student IDs, TechCrunch reports. So this is it, Apple’s digital ID play is here and it’s going to change how we do IDs forever.
There is a creepy factor too. Residents of Arizona and Georgia will be the first to try out a new kind of biometric ID system. Apple is promising strict privacy for all your data. The company won’t have access to your imported or shared records, and all info must be encrypted and securely stored when transferred elsewhere. Pretty much what they all say.
Apple said in June that it would begin supporting digital licenses and IDs, and that the TSA would be the first agency to begin accepting a digital license from an iPhone at several airports, since only a state ID is required for traveling by air domestically within the United States.
Apple appears the obvious choice to put your wallet into your phone now. Speaking of ID card functionality, Apple noted that Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah are “among the first states” to offer the feature to residents. When is this coming to Canada or Australia? It cannot be too far off. How long before our EMR (electronic medical records) is on there as well?
At the new TSA lanes, for example, Apple users will be able to tap their iPhones or Apple Watches to an identity reader. Apple says the feature is secure and doesn’t require handing over or unlocking your phone. . New York State is working with IBM on the possibility of expanding its Excelsior Pass vaccine passport system to include driver’s licenses, according to a New York Times report. IBM, seriously?
Apple describes the ID feature as “an easy, fast, and more secure way for people to present their driver’s license or state ID using their iPhone or Apple Watch.” As always, however, it will have a meaningful effect on accessibility as well. Now I wonder what that will lead to?
The goal of digitizing licenses and IDs is convenience, rather than fixing a particular problem. Privacy experts are not thrilled and are unsure what Apple is up to with this. Apple still has not said much about how the digital ID technology works, or what data a state government obtains as part of the process to enroll a digital license on an iPhone. Apple’s significant lack of transparency with these features is concerning.