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Mississippi, U.S. Launches Digital Driver’s License

The Mississippi Department of Safety (DPS) is working with a biometric and identity solutions provider, to allow residents to store and display an up-to-date driver’s license or ID on their phones that can be used as a legal form of ID. It can be shown anywhere users would normally show their driver’s license, including online to access state services.

The Mississippi Mobile ID ensures data security and privacy of personal information by only storing information with the state’s system of record and on the user’s device. It allows users to share only specific identity-related information, such as their birth date when buying alcohol, rather than all the information contained on a physical driver’s license.

After downloading the app, users set permissions and verify access to their phone numbers. They scan the front and back of their driver’s license and take a picture. After the app verifies the information and photos with the state department of motor vehicles, it can be used in place of a physical ID where app readers are available.

To unlock the app to display ID information, users input a password or take advantage of their phone’s native fingerprint or face authentication capabilities. By verifying identity prior to transactions, the state can streamline processes, reduce fraud and improve residents’ experience, officials said. In addition, verifiers can be confident the identity they are accepting is authentic and up-to-date because Mobile ID allows DPS to push information updates such as an address change or status update.

While Mississippi Mobile ID will be voluntary; it is our belief that residents will find this new service to be secure, private and convenient.

– Sean Tindell, DPS Commissioner 

States have been experimenting with digital driver’s licenses for several years. Iowa’s Department of Transportation began testing a mobile driver’s license developed.  In a three-month pilot in, Virginia residents could download a mobile driver’s license app and use it for age verification at establishments that participated in the pilot, which included some convenience stores, local breweries and other retail locations.

Louisiana became the first state to make digital licenses available via the LA Wallet app to anyone who wanted them. The program was jointly designed by the motor vehicles office, the Louisiana State Police and the Department of Public Safety. It was developed for free by, a Louisiana software firm, at no cost to the state. It is currently used by 670,000 state residents across 1.2 million devices. In May 2021, the state announced that residents could also carry an electronic version of their COVID-19 vaccination records in their LA Wallet.

Most recently, a giant tech company announced that Arizona and Georgia, to be followed by Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah, will soon allow their residents to securely add a digital driver’s license or state ID to the digital wallet app.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, U.S. cities are starting to utilise digital vaccine passports, but many consumers are concerned about their security. As a result, adoption rates are limited because, after all, without trust in the security and functionality of digital passports, citizens are less likely to share their sensitive personal information.

As city and state governments begin to roll out digital passports, security must be at the forefront to build trust and ensure widespread adoption. This is particularly important after the lack of security and privacy associated with contact tracing apps led to much lower adoption than governments had wanted.

Digital health care presents a number of challenges for governments and businesses, but digital vaccine passports are a much simpler problem to solve. By providing a secure and easy-to-use digital mechanism for verification of vaccination status, governments can accelerate the re-opening of the economy and build a secure and trusted foundation for further digital health care initiatives in the future.

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