Iowa follows Florida’s lead with digital driver’s license app

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Iowa is following Florida’s lead by offering a smartphone app that acts as an official driver’s license issued by the state Department of Transportation.

The app, provided to Iowa drivers at no additional cost, will be available in 2015.

“We are really moving forward on this,” DOT Director Paul Trombino said at a budget meeting. “The way things are going, we may be the first in the nation.”

Iowans will still have the choice of a traditional plastic driver’s licence. The digital license, which will be part of an “an identity vault app,” that requires a PIN number to access, can be used as identification by law enforcement officers during traffic stops or screening at the state’s airports.

In June, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill based on a measure by St. Petersburg state Sen. Jeff Brandes, which made Florida the first state in the nation to develop a framework for digital driver’s licenses.

According to H.B. 7005, the state Department of Transportation “shall begin to review and prepare for the development of a secure and uniform system for issuing an optional digital proof of driver license.” In creating the new system, the law allows the DOT to enter an agreement with private companies to develop a “digital proof of driver license system.”

Florida’s digital evidence of driver license is required to be in a format that will allow law enforcement to verify the authenticity of the digital proof of driver license quickly.

Anyone who manufactures a false digital driver license will commit a third-degree felony.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.