Apple will soon allow users in participating states to digitally store their driver’s licenses or state IDs on their iPhone wallets, but according to a CNBC report, the initiative will be partially funded by states – and their taxpayers.
CNBC got contracts signed by Georgia, Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and found that Apple would keep tight control over its deployment. He reports that Apple has “sole discretion” over a number of aspects of the program, including device compatibility, service launch date, state marketing campaigns, as well as how states report on the performance of the initiative.
The contract also states that each state will “allocate reasonably sufficient personnel and resources (eg, personnel, project management and funding) to support the launch of the program according to a schedule to be determined by Apple.” This includes testing the service on different types of Apple devices “in accordance with Apple’s certification requirements.”
In addition, states are responsible for promoting the digital ID service to citizens, as well as encouraging its adoption among members of the federal and state government, including local police and the Internal Revenue Service. State agencies are required to “present the program in all communications to the public relating to digital identification information,” which is subject to Apple’s review and approval.
And if that’s not enough, Apple holds states responsible for the authenticity of the program’s identity verification. The contract releases Apple from any deviation in its verification system, stating: “Apple will not be responsible for verification results, and the Agency acknowledges that all verification results are provided” AS IS “and without any warranty, express, implied or otherwise, regarding its accuracy or performance.
Although this is an Apple-led program, taxpayers foot the bill to roll out this single-platform digital ID program in their states, even if they don’t have iPhones. The contract clearly states “Unless otherwise agreed between the parties, neither party owes the other party any costs under this Agreement”, meaning that the participating States will fund its promotion and adoption using the offer of the taxpayer.
Having a digital ID program – especially one paid for by states – raises a number of concerns, the most obvious of which is security. Users are supposed to transfer their most sensitive documents to their iPhone, essentially establishing their identity on a single device. If implemented incorrectly, it sets a precedent for monitoring; What happens to user information when a digital ID is scanned at an airport or at an age-restricted concert? This type of tracking information is tempting to abuse.
Much like Apple tries to do with its digital ID program, Clear, a digital ID app, serves as a quick pass to the front of security lines at airports and sports stadiums, or an app to store the proof of your COVID-19 vaccination. As an article of OneZero Notes, Clear has considered selling user data in the past, but instead uses that data to promote relevant ads to users. Regardless of how Apple chooses to leverage that data, its digital ID system will be making its way to Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, and Utah very soon, in addition to the aforementioned four states.
The edge contacted Apple with a request for comment but did not immediately receive a response.