Overview of mDLs and the Ecosystem
The mDL is a secure digital representation of driver’s license (DL) data that is provisioned by a state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent agency onto a smart mobile device, such as a smart phone or tablet, for use by the proper, intended mDL Holder. It can also contain information relevant to additional state privileges or national context. The mDL market is developing rapidly, with states in varying stages of implementation.
An mDL can be presented to confirm driving privileges, legal age, name, or contact information. mDLs could be used in many scenarios, for example, purchasing age-restricted items, opening bank accounts, renting or sharing cars, going through airport security, accessing secure locations and more.
An mDL that is secure, accurate, and interoperable, and that protects privacy is coming, and such a mobile ID could well change the identity landscape in the near future. A draft international standard is available — ISO/IEC 18013-5, “Personal Identification – ISO-Compliant Driving License – Part 5: Mobile Driving License Application” — and a number of states are piloting or implementing mDLs that comply with this standard. AAMVA Guidance for mDLs starts with this standard as a baseline capability and defines mDLs as a companion to physical DLs.
Having a standards-based mobile form of digital identity that offers the same trust as a state-issued physical DL brings greater utility, convenience and security benefits for holders while helping to manage their daily lives. mDLs can benefit a variety of relying parties by providing a proven mobile ID that can strongly authenticate identities and offer the potential for more efficient identity transactions.