Across the world, driving licenses are the standard document for identification purposes. Banks, hotels, airports accept it is one of the authentication tools. It is mandatory when you are on the road, driving a vehicle. But people find carrying a physical card cumbersome. You may lose it or even break it unknowingly.
With successful digitization of payments through mobile platforms like apple pay, PayPal, etc, people want to detach themself from carrying any physical documents. Many corporates like Google have come up with wallet-based services where it is possible to store not only money but a soft copy of all identity cards.
Let us see how the digital drive would impact law, order, and legal affairs.
Uniformity in license issuance:
In countries like the United States, Canada, the individual states have separate norms for vehicle registrations and licensing policies. At times, the local authorities tend to decide the fees. It not only leads to confusion but becomes the starting point of corruption in government offices. With the help of digitalization, we could bring about a transparent and uniform license system. Moreover, all activities requiring licensing and permits from the government could have a similar digitized process. It would ensure lesser illegal activities and a smoother way for people and businesses.
Enhance security and privacy:
It is possible to misplace physical cards. Thieves and pick-pocketers could snatch the wallet, and you may lose the license along with other things kept inside. People may also misuse it and do fraudulent activities under your name.
In the digital format, technologies such as a fingerprint or facial-recognition for accessing the license make it difficult for another person to use it. Moreover, the cardholders could show only the required info like age or address to the checking authorities. The concerned authorities could track the changes made by an individual using a blockchain-based system. People believe that these measures could reduce crime and bribery in society.
Reduces the Application Processing Time:
Presently, governments of various countries like Finland, Australia, the USA, etc., are planning to roll out a digital version of the identity card along with the physical card. The issuing authority could access remotely and update it whenever necessary. Thus one need not wait in the queue for license renewal. Similarly, a valid online request for name and address changes is sufficient. In the case of a plastic card, you might have to go for a new one, which leads to more use of resources, and the process is time-consuming too.
Easy to catch lawbreakers:
With digitalization, a detailed record of the number of times a person breaks traffic rules and gets caught will be readily available to the DMV (Department of motor vehicles). The offenders could be furnished in the court in case of a dispute. Besides that, the suspended license owners can now apply for a digital hardship license for commuting to work/school. Thus, digitalization could pave the way for efficient governance.
Fast and remote verification:
It would be easy for the authorities to check the authenticity of the license. Rather than showing them ID proof from your phone, the authorities would now be able to access the identity card from authentication devices remotely. It also eliminates the need for lengthy paperwork. Any changes to the identification card like renewal or info updates would be directly available in the app. Moreover, it is possible to send reminders to the cardholders regarding the expiry dates, vehicle insurance dues, etc.
Responsibilities of the license holders:
The digital license is more convenient and offers plenty of advantages over the traditional chip-based cards. If a person is not involved in any malpractices, then there is a real-time proof for his/her genuineness. But it is the individual’s responsibility to keep the phone charged and in a working condition when the authorities ask to show the proof. At times, even a cracked screen could hamper the authentication process like scanning QR code or fingerprint verification. However, research work is going on for storing or linking license info to the phone’s hardware.
It is the responsibility of the government to provide a safe and secure digital system. No location tracking or geotagging activity should happen in normal circumstances. The monitoring team should not misuse the app to gather any information about the user. The user requires control over the sharing of details. The system must ensure that a third party cannot access personal data via activities like hacking, cyber attack, etc.
Digital licenses are app-based and require the linking of the phone number to the database system. There should be ways to ensure that an individual has a single license under a particular category. App crash issues due to usage overload are very much a possibility. The greatest challenge for the authorities is to implement a standard protocol.
For a successful digital transition, both the public and the authorities need awareness of the changed rules and risks. Users should share info only with the allocated authorities as random sharing could lead to misuse, loss, or bullying of innocent people.