Plastic driving licenses could soon be a thing of the past according to Oliver Morley, the Chief Executive of the DVLA. Morley posted a cryptic tweet last week, alluding to a new license system, which could be entirely digital. The licence would be stored in the Apple Wallet on iPhones, and the licence will look exactly like it’s plastic counterpart, and would hold the same information. Morley followed up his tweet after complaints from many twitter uses concerned about security. He noted that security is one of their top priorities in the design of any new digital licence – and that for the moment it is still a prototype with no timeline for release. However, if they were to be released, they would only be valid in conjunction with the plastic card counterpart. This would hopefully silence concerns about security of licences held on phones.
Still, this new idea of a digital license raises a plethora of questions for road users about the license being easy to fake. Would the license be constantly connected to the DVLA database? Would you need an internet connection to look at your license? If so, what if your mobile date runs out and you can’t connect to the internet at 4pm on a Sunday stick on the M62? Surely these questions would be answered in time if the plans for the digital license to have the go ahead.
The Apple wallet app stores personal information, including card details, and can also store event tickets alongside plane tickets. Apple say this prevents the use of traditional wallets, which are more likely to be stolen. They also claim this saves on wasting paper. If the digital license was introduced, drivers could receive their licence instantaneously if connected to the internet, and could potentially be altered by users and the DVLA much quicker. However, where does this leave users without iphones? Android users and those with older phones (shout out to the Nokia 3310’s) won’t have access to this kind of technology.
The DVLA aren’t the only agency looking to digitalise. Passport manufacturer De La Rue have also stated that they wish to digitalise passports and make them secure enough for governments around the world to accept and use them to save on paper and increase security. There’s no timeline or release date for the digital license, and is definitely in the early stages of conception, but it would be interesting to see what the DVLA can do with the idea. Watch this space…