Apple adds driver’s licenses to iPhone wallets

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Apple is rolling out a feature in eight states that will let users store digital versions of their driver’s licenses and other state IDs in their iPhone wallets.

The Transportation Security Administration plans to accept IDs stored on iPhones at “select airport security checkpoints” in “participating airports,” Apple added without providing specifics.

Arizona and Georgia residents will have access to the feature first, followed by Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah. Apple did not provide an exact release date. 

“We are already in discussions with many more states as we’re working to offer this nationwide in the future,” said the company’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, Jennifer Bailey. 

The feature — which will require users to scan their IDs and snap verification selfies — bolsters Apple’s mobile wallet feature, which already lets users store other documents like credit cards, student IDs and boarding passes on their iPhones. Apple is also planning to let users store corporate IDs and home, apartment and hotel keys through its wallet feature “soon,” according to the company. 

Apple said it built the driver’s license feature with “privacy at the forefront” — but many privacy and civil liberties advocates have raised concerns about the rise of digital wallets and IDs. 

“By making it more convenient to show ID and thus easier to ask for it, digital IDs would inevitably make demands for ID more frequent in American life,” activists from the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote in July, arguing that frequent ID checks would erode privacy and diminish “the ability to engage in constitutionally protected anonymous speech.”  

An image of Apple's new state ID feature.
Arizona and Georgia residents will have access to the feature first.
Apple
iPhone
Apple said it built the driver’s license feature with “privacy at the forefront”
Apple

Nilay Patel, the editor-in-chief of tech site The Verge, also criticized Apple’s ID feature, saying it was ripe for abuse by law enforcement. 

“I got a speeding ticket the other day,” Patel wrote on Twitter. “There is no way I would ever hand my phone over to a cop and let them walk back to their car with it, and no way I trust police anywhere to not try and do that regardless of how the tech works.”

Apple has also recently taken flak from privacy activists over plans to scan iPhones for images of child porn, a feature watchdogs say could also be used by repressive governments to track other kinds of content.





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