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Ditch your ID for digital? Pennsylvania considers digital driver’s licenses

  • Ben Wasserstein/WITF
A REAL ID driver’s license sample for Pennsylvania.


A REAL ID driver’s license sample for Pennsylvania.

Carrying a physical driver’s license could become a thing of the past — for most applications.

The House Transportation Committee is considering a bill that would give drivers the option to obtain a digital id card while still requiring them to have a physical one.

Rep. Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, said this will keep Pennsylvania up to date in the digital age.

“As technology keeps changing, more Pennsylvanians want to go paperless and are interested in digital products,” the bill’s sponsor said.

Under this bill, people could, for instance, go to a nightclub and use their phone as their identification to get in. There might also be ways to toggle certain information so only relevant things, such as date of birth, could be seen.

Pennsylvania State Police Major Robert J. Krol Jr. said this could help prevent identity theft.

“By allowing an individual to control how much personal information they share, their identity can be confirmed without compromising other information on the physical product,” he said.

While Krol was supportive of the legislation, he said it should still be required for drivers to carry their ID card on them for reasons such as poor reception in parts of the state.

Rodrigo Diaz, executive director of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, said the liquor code does not mention digital IDs as an acceptable form of ID to purchase alcohol. He asked the committee to clarify that point in legislation.

Tuesday’s committee hearing marks an early step in what could be a long effort to launch digital ID’s.

John Corson, director of business development at IDEMIA public security, recommended the state develop its own app and decide later if IDs could be accessed through third party digital wallets, such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay.

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