Delaware and Iowa have launched pilot programs to try using digital licenses instead of the traditional plastic drivers license cards that we all use to verify our driver’s status, age and identity.
As airline boarding passes, business loyalty cards and Apple Pay all are applications on the smartphone, a digital license would likely be its own mobile app. Also, car insurance companies now offer digital versions of auto insurance cards.
In theory, the cop that pulls you over might alert you via phone, and you can use your fingerprint to allow your info to be accessed remotely. That’s when you see the ticket you received and you can even pay the citation on the app.
In practice, however, there are sure to be problems. From a technical standpoint, it us unknown how secure such a system might remain. Further, each state has its own computer systems in police cars and their DMV, all of which may not be compatible.
A more troubling issue is if you are requested to hand your smartphone to a police officer. If the phone is that accessible, the police may be able to see things that the fourth amendment against unreasonable search and seizure would require a warrant to see. (The US Supreme Court has ruled that cell phones are protected from warrantless searches.) What happens if a notification pops up jokingly asking if you are “ready to go hide the body?”
One real advantage would be the instant update to change your address without a dreaded trip to the “take a number” soul-crushing long lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Kids these days have no idea why something as simple as updating an address requires a physical trip to a “brick and mortar” location. So, as with many new technologies, the enormous generation gap looms.
Younger drivers will be likely to embrace this technology and say it’s about time. Those of us well over 40 are likely to be more cautious and suspicious.
The way things are headed, the car will soon be diving the human, rather than the other way around. I am definitely not ready for that!
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