According to reports, Apple’s much-publicized digital driver’s license function comes at a cost to taxpayers. Residents of eight US states will be able to save state IDs and driver’s licenses in the Apple Wallet software on their iPhone, according to a September announcement.
According to CNBC, Apple has “sole control” over numerous areas of the rollout.
However, “at taxpayer expense,” Connecticut, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Utah “carry the burden of preserving [the feature].”
CNBC obtained information of the agreements between several of those states and Apple through public records requests and other means:
- With the release of the feature and the compatibility of the devices that will be linked with the wallet, Apple has maintained full control over everything. That also includes which state agencies are liable for maintaining related computer systems and ensuring legal compliance, and Apple dictates how they report on the feature’s “performance.”
- State entities must hire or assign personnel and resources to assist the project “on a timeline determined by Apple” and “designate” project managers to respond to Apple’s queries if Apple so wishes.
- States are required by the deal to advertise the new function, but Apple has the authority to evaluate and approve those marketing materials.
- Every new license holder or renewal must be “proactively” supplied the digital ID at no additional expense to the individual applying.
- States must market it to entities that verify IDs on a regular basis, such as local law enforcement and anybody else.
CNBC report says, “The end result is that states bear the burden of maintaining technology systems at taxpayer expense, a move that ultimately benefits Apple and its shareholders by making its devices even more essential than they already are.”
When Apple initially revealed the specifications of its ID scheme, it stressed encryption and other security measures, emphasizing that neither the business nor government officials would be able to see “when or when” customers flashed IDs.
There was strong public opposition in several countries during the Coronavirus pandemic, particularly the United Kingdom, to the notion of digital Covid passports or other forms of identification, despite the NHS Covid-19 app becoming extensively used in England for that reason.
A 2019 attempt in the UK to implement a more universal digital-ID scheme was similarly scrapped due to civil-liberties concerns.