Oklahomans Can Start Downloading Digital IDs This Week

According to David Ostrowe, the secretary of digital transformation and administration, some 4,000 people are already using a beta version of the smartphone-based identification. That number is set to grow this week.

by Dale Denwalt, The Oklahoman / October 30, 2019
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(TNS) — Oklahoma's mobile ID should be ready for download this week in app stores, the state's chief technology official said.

About 4,000 people already have the beta version, said David Ostrowe, secretary of digital transformation and administration. Full use of the app with state agencies will require some legislation that will be considered early next year.

The official release will be available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

With a mobile ID, Oklahoma residents have an option to carry their state-issued identification on their smartphones. It's an official document that can be used when interacting with government agencies or private retailers. Eventually, the app will connect with websites to verify users' identity.

Several states are racing to implement mobile identification services, and Oklahoma will likely be one of the first to let residents flash their smartphone instead of pulling a card from their wallet. It's not designed to completely replace a physical card, however. Just 81% of Americans own a smartphone, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center. The same report showed only two-thirds of people over 50 own a device.

Beta users have taken their digital driver's license into real-world situations with some success.

"A lot of people have gotten out of traffic tickets by using it," Ostrowe said. "The officers actually liked it enough. And so overall, it's been overwhelmingly positive."

Ostrowe boarded a flight in Oklahoma using his, but had to use his traditional on the way home.

"We have a lot of young people using them in bars. So, all in all, it's been very, very positive," he said.

The latest version of the beta rollout included a notice that the app would be free until November 2020, when users would be charged a $4.49 subscription fee. The fee, however, hasn't been negotiated yet between the state and Idemia, the company that developed the app and provides Oklahoma's existing identity card infrastructure.

Idemia's agreement with the state includes an option to charge for the app after the first year. It's likely that decision would be based on whether the company has revenue from services it sells to vendors who accept mobile ID.

Oklahoma will be the second state to roll out a mobile ID after Louisiana's LA Wallet launched last year. Several other states are still in their pilot program including Iowa, which slowed its progress by hiring an outside group to test their app's functionality and security.

Ostrowe's team is also working with a third party to develop a separate mobile app that will renew and display vehicle registrations and let Oklahomans order birth certificates. The "My Oklahoma" app should be ready within 30 days, he said.

©2019 The Oklahoman. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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