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Utah drivers licenses one step closer to going digital

Feb 13, 2020, 7:56 PM
Utah drivers licences could be going digital. A bill to set up a pilot program, where licenses woul...
Utah drivers licences could be going digital. A bill to set up a pilot program, where licenses would be stored on secure phone apps, passed out of a state Senate committee. (Photo: Still from a Doritos ad on YouTube featuring musician Post Malone.)
(Photo: Still from a Doritos ad on YouTube featuring musician Post Malone.)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah could soon allow drivers to keep their drivers licenses on their phone.

A bill to set up a digital drivers license pilot program passed out of a state Senate committee on Thursday. It awaits a full vote of the legislature.

Senator Lincoln Fillmore (R-South Jordan), who sponsored the bill, addressed the question of whether someone could snap a photo of your drivers license and pass it off as theirs. Fillmore said the drivers license would be stored on a secure app on a person’s phone and could only be scanned by someone, such as a police officer, who also had the same app on their phone.

“It would not be possible to simply take a picture then change the picture, even electronically. When a police officer pulls you over, they have a QR code, they take a picture, and then it pulls up on their screen to make sure that they match,” Fillmore said.

Fillmore believes Utah needs digital drivers licenses.

“Fewer people are carrying wallets and purses these days because all the data we need–our calendar and our credit cards and everything–is on the phone. Except our drivers license,” Fillmore said.

The state set aside money last year for a digital drivers license pilot program. However, it’s unclear who would pay for a full roll out of the program if it’s successful.

Other states are also looking into their own digital drivers license programs.

Cyber security experts, though, worry it would be easy for hackers to get to those licenses.

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Utah drivers licenses one step closer to going digital