Delaware Tests Mobile Drivers Licenses


Digital drivers licenses? Delaware is testing a new pilot project that would offer a group of test users a mobile drivers license. The mobile license can be used in the same way as regular cards but are stored in a users phone. Many individuals already store credit cards in their phones for contactless payments, this pilot would be the first to put vital documents in a virtual wallet.

Delaware’s pilot is slated to run for six months and will include an initial user group of 200 state employees and stakeholders. The pilot is being run by both the Delaware DMV and IDEMIA, the company that produces the State’s physical driver licenses and identification cards.

“This six month pilot will help us see what mDLs look like in real-world scenarios and address any issues that arise as a result before we decide to fully adopt and implement this application for our more than 800,000 licensed drivers and ID card holders,” said Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan.

The state says it hopes to address a handful of common privacy issues by transitioning to mobile drivers licenses. One example is age verification – card based licenses show all of an individual’s details including address when an ID is presented for age verification. With the mobile license, only a picture and the age of the license holder will be shown.

There are some significant concerns, however, regarding law enforcement use of mobile licenses. The pilot will give law enforcement the ability to ping a users cellphone to get their license details as they walk up to a traffic stop. It is unclear from the pilot project details if law enforcement use of the ping will be limited to traffic stops. Ostensibly, if police have the ability to pull details they can pull details at will. Privacy and civil rights organizations including the ACLU have already pointed to a number of concerns surrounding the use of license plate readers which also allow law enforcement to pull information on people and track them without them knowing.

CivSource has reached out to state officials for more information and will update the story as it becomes available.