Upgrading Your Driver’s License- Why Technology is Needed for Identity

The driver’s license is a document with multiple uses. On the road, it gives its holder the right to drive certain vehicles. Very often, it also serves as an identity document, particularly in countries that do not have a national identity card program.

This is just one more reason why it has to be highly secure. Historically, it has often been not more than a paper-mounted document with little or no security.

Identity is a simple idea that has become a complex problem. It has become complex due to fraud that is  motivated by money, easy credit, and the ease of account takeover. Because identity has yet to be effectively established, anyone can be you.

We have as many as 200 forms of ID circulating from state to state, plus another 14,000 birth certificates and 49 versions of the Social Security card. We use “for profit” third party information brokers and the lowly vital statistics agency that works for each state to manage the data. All of these documents can be compromised by a good scanner and inkjet printer. This is not established identity. This is an antiquated treatment of identity and ID delivery systems.

The international ISO/IEC 18013 standard, which came into force in 2009, outlines the framework for migration towards a secure identity document. The standard stipulates the use of visual security elements comparable to those used on other identity cards and passports.

As with all other secure documents the standard proposes the addition of a chip (microprocessor) to extend the range of possibilities offered by the card. There are many benefits to using a smart card for driver’s licenses, security being the most important one.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures