Secure Technology Alliance’s Mobile Driver’s License Workshop Showcases mDLs Role in The Future of Identification

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mobile driver’s licenses are gaining traction in at least 30 U.S. states. The progress exemplifies that the transition from physical driver’s licenses is well underway, and the future of identification documents is digital. On the heels of these advancements, the Secure Technology Alliance celebrates the success of its first Mobile Driver’s License (mDL) Workshop, which occurred in conjunction with an American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) and ISO-led regional mDL testing event

Leaders in identification, authentication, standards development and relying parties converged at the workshop to emphasize burgeoning mobile driver’s license pilot programs and the importance of the new ISO/IEC standard 18013-5 in the advancement of digital identification.

“Smartphones carry everything, from payment cards to precious photos. It is only natural that the devices are becoming a platform for storing identity credentials too,” said Christine Nizer, administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and chair of the AAMVA International Board of Directors who delivered the mDL Workshop’s keynote address. “The success of mobile driver’s licenses depends on stakeholders and relying parties banding together to create an mDL environment that is convenient and secure for the end user.”

The pace of mDL adoption has tripled in 2021, according to GET Group North America, positioning the technology as a natural evolution from physical cards. A mobile driver’s license is a digital representation of the information contained on a physical driver’s license or ID card moved onto a mobile device, such as a smartphone, for the citizen to control. mDLs offer enhanced security by requiring a cryptographic protocol that assures verifiers that the mDL or mID was issued by a trusted authority, such as a Department of Motor Vehicles. For this reason, you never “show” your mDL on a phone screen to anyone. This cryptographic mechanism also prevents alteration of the digital ID, eliminating the threat of counterfeit credentials. The secure verification process kicks off with just an NFC tap or QR scan.

ISO/IEC 18013-5 standard sets the stage for widespread mDL implementation

Across the mDL Workshop’s various panels and sessions, industry stakeholders acknowledged the ISO/IEC 18013-5 standard as a critical milestone in the efforts to advance mobile driver’s license adoption. The standard, which establishes clear guidance and secure, interoperable specifications for the implementation of mDLs and mobile IDs, was published in September of this year. It empowers relying parties including retailers, transportation networks, financial institutions and government agencies to confidently deploy mDL and mID readers.

Alongside ISO, AAMVA, the lead coordination body for US and Canadian motor vehicle agencies, has made great strides to encourage expanded mDL adoption.

During the mDL Workshop speakers representing AAMVA underscored the following efforts:

  • Plans to publish updated mDL Implementation Guidelines to support the new ISO standard
  • The success of its North American mDL interoperability test event, hosted by the Alliance in conjunction with the mDL Workshop.
  • The development of AAMVA’s Digital Trust Service, which will serve as a one-stop shop for relying parties seeking to access the public keys of issuing authorities. The service will establish trust in the mDL verification process

During the workshop many industry speakers agreed that Apple’s recent plan to integrate ISO/IEC 18013-5 mobile driver’s licenses into its Wallet app has garnered significant media attention for the mDL movement.

Mobile driver’s licenses take flight: The TSA use case

The workshop brought together speakers from several states and participating agencies. They shared valuable information from mDL pilot programs which are paramount in moving implementation forward. Driver’s licenses are often the primary documents people keep on hand to verify their age and identity. Their significance stretches far beyond driving credentials.

Surveys show that travel is the number one use case people are interested in for mDL. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is in agreement and it fully supports the mDL movement for travel authentication. TSA is preparing to begin its phased rollout, with mDL Apple Wallet integration being its first step, which will allow select security checkpoints in participating airports to be the first locations people can use their mDL in the Wallet app.

During a panel about early mDL adoption, TSA shared its plans to begin accepting mDL use in airports at two state locations starting February of next year. The pilot program will add two additional states around March of 2022. TSA says standards-based digital ID’s, such as state-issued mDL will help streamline and secure the identity verification process. Instead of TSA staff examining a physical ID card, manually comparing a traveler’s ID photo to their face, and verifying flight information, a machine will automate the process. Travelers will simply tap an NFC reader or use a QR scanner to initiate the data exchange. A TSA staff member will be present to oversee and validate the verification process.

The Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration intend to update the REAL ID Act implementing regulation to accommodate the regulatory changes necessary to enable travelers’ use of mobile identity documents consistent with requirements in the Act. Federal rulemaking is a deliberative process that generally requires years to complete.

TSA’s discussion held much interest to airports, automobile rental, and related organizations participating in the workshop as they begin the process of considering mDLs within airport use cases and beyond.

mDL in the real world: Utah’s early adoption breakthrough

Several states including Utah, Maryland, Virginia and Louisiana have conducted pilots or have begun using mobile driver’s licenses for age-based transactions such as purchasing alcohol and certain medications. It is also being used at event concessions, in financial institutions like banks and more. The Secure Technology Alliance has developed a first-of-its kind mDL implementation map to track momentum in the U.S. and Canada. It can be found on the mDL Connection website.

Utah is experiencing significant success with its mDL pilot program, which launched in June. According to a speaker representing the state of Utah, 200 people enrolled in the pilot the first day. That number has since grown to 2,000 participants and the state hopes to extend mDLs to 10,000 participants total.

Utah attributes the following strategic decisions to its thriving mDL pilot:

  • The state reached out to relying parties, including local businesses, prior to building Utah’s mDL to find out what steps must be taken to ensure the mDLs work with existing systems
  • The state held events which showcased real-world transactions to raise consumer interest
  • The state notifies media outlets when new businesses agree to accept mDLs under the pilot program
  • The state partnered with grocery stores and Utah Community Credit Union to highlight the security and privacy benefits of MDL for age-based transactions and financial fraud prevention

Since launching the pilot, Utah says its participants have expressed a desire to use their mDLs beyond the program’s scope. mDL holders have even attempted to use their digital ID during traffic stops, and at bars and restaurants that are not currently participating in the pilot.

Next steps: The future of mobile driver’s licenses:

Payments industry professionals, technology builders, merchants and government stakeholders came together at the mDL Workshop to identify priorities for the future of mobile driver’s licenses. A speaker with the Merchant Advisory Group (MAG) highlighted the potential safety benefits of mDL for age-based purchases. With mDL, technology would decide whether a customer is authorized to make the purchase instead of the potentially vulnerable frontline worker. MAG also expressed interest in leveraging mDLs to streamline and strengthen the ID verification process for buy online, pick up in store transactions with the expectation that a stronger authentication at the point of pickup means increased approvals and less fraud.

The American Car Rental Association (ACRA) and the National Notary Association (NNA) also presented prospective mDL use cases. ACRA detailed how mDLs may be used to securely confirm a driver’s identity and any potential driving restrictions during a rental car pick up. mDL could expand capabilities for unattended rental car use cases by enabling an automated safe ID verification process without an attendant present to physically verify the customer’s driver’s license. Regarding notarization, the NNA highlighted an mDLs ability to enhance certainty during both in-person and remote proofing processes.

In the payments space, a Mastercard representative suggested utilizing mDLs to create safe, unattended payment experiences. For example, POS devices could combine age verification with a contactless payment in the future so consumers can make frictionless age-restricted purchases. Lastly, the payment network SHAZAM suggests that mDLs may become an important authentication factor in support of the recent e-commerce boom by integrating digital identity verification with remote payments such as “one-click” checkout. Overall, the goal is to create a frictionless consumer experience with mobile driver’s licenses.

To participate in ongoing mDL implementation efforts and other Alliance activities, visit the Alliance website for information on membership. The experience of Alliance members spans standards development; product development, testing and certification; app and service providers; integrators; relying parties and regulators across both public and private sectors. Their efforts include the development of mDL Connection, a community resource for mDL awareness, education and coordination activities.

About the Secure Technology Alliance
The Secure Technology Alliance is the digital security industry’s premier association. The Alliance brings together leading providers and adopters of end-to-end security solutions designed to protect privacy and digital assets in payments, mobile, identity and access, healthcare, transportation and the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) markets.

The Alliance’s mission is to stimulate understanding, adoption and widespread application of connected digital solutions based on secure chip and other technologies and systems needed to protect data, enable secure authentication and facilitate commerce.

The Alliance is driven by its U.S.-focused member companies. They collaborate by sharing expertise and industry best practices through industry and technology councils, focused events, educational resources, industry outreach, advocacy, training and certification programs. Through participation in the breadth of Alliance activities, members strengthen personal and organizational networks and take away the insights to build the business strategies needed to commercialize secure products and services in this dynamic environment. For more information, please visit

Mike Smith
Montner Tech PR