Starting next year, residents of Iowa will be able to use a smartphone app in place of their physical driver’s license.
Iowa law enforcement officers will regard the app as official proof of identification, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). “We are really moving forward on this,” DOT Director Paul Trombino told a state budget hearing, according to The Des Moines Register. “The way things are going, we may be the first in the nation.”
The app, which will require a PIN number to open, will not replace physical driver’s licenses, which the state will continue to produce.
As The Verge pointed out, using a smartphone app as a stand-in for a physical driver’s license could be fine within the state of Iowa, but it seems unlikely that other states—not to mention airport security—will accept an image on a screen as a valid form of ID, at least in the short term. If the Iowa project gains traction, it could lead to other states taking similar steps, but such a movement might be years away.
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