It started out as a digital call for credit cards and concert tickets, allowing anyone with an iPhone to fly through the checkout line and turnstiles.
The technology then spread to vaccine passport records during the epidemic. And this week, the app for Apple Wallet, iPhones and Apple Watches, which stores payment information and QR codes, added driving licenses for the first time.
On Wednesday, Arizona became the first state to offer digital copies of driver’s licenses and state identity cards as part of a broader partnership with Apple, announced last year.
The project is expected to extend to Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah, as well as the territory of Puerto Rico. The initiative has been encouraged by tech giants and states to facilitate it.
However, the expansion leads to new investigations into privacy issues and Apple’s large area of influence. Digital driving licenses will be accepted in a few places at the start of the program, and Apple has not said when other states and Puerto Rico will join Arizona.
However, Arizona residents should stop deleting their old-school driver’s license and government identification card. If they are pulled by the police or given a card at the bar, it will not be digitally valid.
For now, digital licenses will only be accepted at selected security screening checkpoints at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport operated by the Transportation Security Administration, a federal agency, officials said.
As of Thursday, the state Department of Motor Vehicles, which is part of the Arizona Department of Transportation, estimated that 11,500 people had requested digital copies of their driver’s licenses or state ID cards.
“If they like technology and they want to be early adopters for it in every way,” said Bill Lemorox, a division of motor vehicles in Arizona, on Thursday. “This is quite voluntary.”
Announcing the launch of the feature, Apple said residents of the participating states could press the plus sign in their Apple Wallets to add their license or state-issued ID card to their iPhone or Apple Watch.
Participants in the process are required to photograph the front and back of their license using their phone’s camera and complete a series of facial and head movements, according to Apple. Users must also provide selfies, which are sent to their state using encryption with photos of their license so that local authorities can verify their identities.
It was not immediately clear how much it would cost states to verify requests associated with a digital license, which Apple Pal and state officials said would not create additional costs for those who use it.
At airport security checkpoints, people with an iPhone or Apple Watch can hold the device up to an electronic reader, which will then prompt them to use facial recognition, thumbprint or passcode on their phone to consent to transmit their encrypted information. A TSA agent, Apple said.
The company insists that personal information is not stored on Apple’s servers, and that people will never have to hand over their phones to security agents.
But not everyone is so bullish on expanding technology.
Elizabeth M., founding director of Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab. “Apple is now trying to integrate your whole life into its phones vertically,” Rainieris said Friday.
Professor Reneris said that while Apple is known for its robust encryption technology, he said the company is ready to gather more information about its customers’ habits and day-to-day activities.
“They know how often you do it and they know when you’re doing it,” she said. “They are normalizing the introduction of identity and other credentials. This is also behind the conversation surrounding the digital vaccine passport. “
Residents of some states may request a digital copy of their coronavirus vaccination card that can be added to their Apple Wallet, showing a QR code that is unique to that person. Connecticut is one of the states that plans to participate in Apple’s digital licensing program.
The state is still evaluating the technical aspects of the initiative, including privacy concerns, Deputy Commissioner of Motor Vehicles Connecticut Tony Guerrera said Friday. The state has no timetable for when the digital license will be available, he said.
Mr. Guerrero said. “That’s why we’re not in a hurry.”
However, he said, he could 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 there are many, many individuals who would love to get something like that,” he said. “Apple is a world-renowned corporation, and they’ve done their research, and they know people want it.”