Mobile Biometric Driver’s Licenses Coming to a State Near You
MorphoTrust (MT) is trying to convince motorists that mobile biometric driver’s licenses (MDL) are a good thing. Two years ago MT convinced the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to pilot their mobile driver’s license program.
MT wants you to download an image of your driver’s license to your smartphone and use that instead of a physical license. A KTVQ video revealed how the MT app uses facial recognition to verify an individual’s identity.
Using a mobile biometric driver’s license poses numerous privacy concerns.
MT and the DOT claim motorists can hit a button that will allow the police to only see your license information. But what if you forget to hit the button, would the police officer have access to all your personal information?
The reasons to never use MDLs are too numerous to mention here, but an article in USA Today does a good job of addressing some of my privacy concerns.
What if drivers wish to use the phone to record their interactions with the police officer? What if they want to make a call or send a text during the traffic stop — perhaps to a lawyer? What if the phone has a lock mechanism that would lock officers out before they are able to scan the license bar code?
And what of the pitfalls inherent in storing critical data on an electronic device? What if the phone’s battery is dead — or dies in the midst of the traffic stop? What if the screen is cracked in a way that makes the bar code unreadable?
MorphoTrust uses gov’t employees to convince public to switch to MDLs
It appears the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an organization that is closely affiliated with DHS, will stop at nothing to convince the public to switch to MDLs. (Click here to read more.)
In Iowa, MT and DHS have been using one hundred DOT employees to convince the public to accept MDLs.
Two days ago, MorphoTrust claimed that a new study they conducted shows a majority of Americans want MDLs.
The survey polled nearly 4,000 consumers ranging in age, gender, region and income across the U.S. To qualify for the study, participants needed to own a smartphone and have a valid driver’s license or state identification card.
Interestingly, the study is not available to the public.
Below is a list of the only findings MorphoTrust published:
- 80% of respondents are interested in a mobile driver’s license app
- 70% of respondents are interested in using their mobile phone to renew their driver’s license
- 64% of Millennials express the highest concept acceptance and would recommend it to a friend
When a poll asks people if they would be interested in a driver’s license app, of course the majority of people will say yes.
But try rephrasing the question by asking if they would be OK with giving a police officer their phones and I’ll bet the majority of people would say no. Would you hand over your unlocked phone to a stranger and have them get in their car while you wait for them to give you the phone back? Can you be sure they will only make a phone call and not scroll through your personal information?
When a company that manufactures 80% of the country’s driver’s licenses and IDs publishes a study promoting MDLs we should all be concerned.
I sent MT an email requesting a full copy of their study and will update my story if I receive it.
It appears that the feds will go to great lengths to force MDLs on the public.
MorphoTrust’s plan to fingerprint and facially recognize everyone
A 2015 article in the State Scoop shows how MT received $1.47 million from DHS, I mean the NIST, to implement electronic IDs in North Carolina and Georgia. Also, in 2015, Senator Jeff Dial authored a bill that would require the Arizona Department of Transportation to create electronic driver’s licenses.
“We believe motor vehicle [departments] in the United States do the best job at vetting the largest population of Americans because that’s their standard process for issuing driver’s licenses and state IDs,” Mark DiFraia, the senior director of solutions strategy at MorphoTrust said.
Of course MT wants every state to switch to MDLs, they will make a fortune.
MorphoTrust has close ties to DHS/TSA
MorphoTrust is a natural fit to develop MDL’s, given the company’s history in government biometrics and particularly with its efforts in the TSA’s PreCheck program. (Source)
MT also offers transportation worker ‘threat assessments’.
As I mentioned in Tuesday’s story, DHS and the TSA want to install facial biometric body scanners in commuter train stations across the country.
- Getting the public to accept facial recognition body scanners at airports and Disney World is only part of a much greater privacy nightmare.
- Evolv’s facial recognition body scanners are being used at public area screenings, sporting events, and employee screenings.
The time to fight for our privacy is now; if we wait any longer it will be too late.
You can read more from MassPrivateI at his website here.
Top image credit: MorphoTrust – Eric Verzanobres / Safran