Those with a penchant for losing their identification need no longer worry: the DVLA has revealed plans for an iPhone driving licence. Oliver Morley, the CEO of the DVLA, revealed plans on Twitter of a prototype smartphone driving licence accompanied with a message highlighting a “prototype of something we’re working on”.
It remains unclear as to whether the DVLA has any official intention of introducing the iPhone driving licence, much less whether it heralds the end of the current plastic licence.
The state of New South Wales in Australia recently trialled digital driving licences, and De La Rue, the company responsible for manufacturing passports, has announced that it is investigating whether paperless passports could eventually become a reality.
Apple’s iOS Wallet app is currently used to store credit card details, airline boarding passes and store loyalty cards, and the iPhone itself holds digital fingerprint data, but photographic ID cards continue to remain in their plastic format – for now, at least.
The reasoning behind the push for digital identification is most likely borne out of two major factors – convenience and security. Smartphone driving licences would cut down on DVLA administration costs, as it would remove the cost of having to deliver newly issued licences by post, as well cutting the cost of having to alter licences due to changes in circumstance, with updated licences simply being uploaded instantly to the user’s phone. Digital licences would also cut down on identity fraud by making driver details harder to steal and clone.
Perhaps the biggest stumbling block for the digital licence is that fact that it would be difficult (read: impossible) to access from a damaged or out-of-battery smartphone, prompting speculation that licences could instead be uploaded to the cloud and accessed remotely via an alternate source, such as another fully charged smartphone, or perhaps a police smart reader.