Nearly one year after launch, mobile ID to be utilized for statewide elections

On average, almost five thousand Mississippians per month have started using the digital driver’s license
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 9:55 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi’s mobile driver’s license program faces its first real statewide test next month, as residents will be allowed to use their smartphones as their identification when they vote.

Mississippi’s Department of Public Safety worked closely with the Secretary of State’s Office to integrate the technology into the voting process, DPS Deputy Commissioner Keith Davis said.

The program, which launched last November in the form of an Apple and Android app, stores a resident’s driver’s license in digital form and allows someone to use their phone in places they would typically show a license.

Users can actually limit what information needs to be shown in those situations, too; if someone wanted to rent a car, they could simply select that option on the app, and it would show the person that the user is over 25.

What has yet to be implemented, however, is the option to scan a resident’s license through the phone.

“This has been a very soft launch and just a peek into the future of what this app is going to bring to Mississippians,” Davis said. “We are one of ten states that is actually fully engaged with mobile ID.”

Thus far, Davis said, around 100,000 people have downloaded the app, and more than 51,000 residents signed up for the digital driver’s license.

While that number may sound small since it’s over the course of eleven months, Davis said it’s in line with what they’re seeing from other states as well.

Eventually, DPS wants residents to be able to use their phone instead of their license to check in before boarding a flight.

“We are working with Idemia as well as the other states that are rolling out mobile ID, working with TSA to get that put into place,” Davis said.

Idemia, the company DPS has contracted for the mobile app, has already launched similar apps in several other states.

Inevitably with this kind of technology comes privacy concerns, too.

Last year, 3 On Your Side learned that the app would allow law enforcement to see who’s in a vehicle during a traffic stop by obtaining license information from the phones inside someone’s vehicle.

“Once that technology is developed, the officer will have to request access to the information. You would have to in turn, respond to the request and authorize the information to be shared with the officer,” Davis said. “That’s something that we certainly are working towards. But a lot of work has to be done before that piece of technology is fully rolled out.”

You can learn more about the mobile ID program by clicking here.

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