Iowa Eyes 2019 for Digital Licenses

IDEMIA was awarded $1.2 million through a competitive bidding process to develop Iowa's digital licenses system for launch in late 2019 or early 2020.

Iowa, which launched the country's first digital license pilot program in 2016, is on track to become the second state to offer mobile driver's licenses in late 2019 or early 2020. Digital licenses rely on blockchain and biometrics to secure personal and identity information.

According to The Gazette, Louisiana became the first state to make digital license copies available earlier this year with 35,000 registered on its system so far.

Iowa is continuing to work with the France-based secure credentials company IDEMIA, which developed its pilot for less than $50,000, said Mark Lowe, director of the state Department of Transportation.

The company was awarded an initial $1.2 million through a competitive bidding process.

Iowa's digital driver’s license app interacts with devices used by those needing to check identity and other details pertinent to verifiable interactions. But having a digital license could make other interactions with Iowa government much faster and easier.

“The really powerful thing is that once we bind you to that credential and verify it, you can use it for hunting and fishing licenses, weapons’ permits, tax returns — all sorts of things,” Lowe said. “There’s a ton of convenience and efficiencies.”

While digital licenses are seen by some as having added public safety benefits, the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Privacy Information Center are skeptical of the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of the greater amount of private information that can be held in digital licenses and the central systems that operate them.

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