Citizens of New South Wales can now use their smartphones as valid photo identification several years after the program was initially proposed by the state government.
NSW joins South Australia, which launched a similar program in 2017, making them among the only places in the world where citizens can have a license issued in a digital format and have it displayed on their smartphones for official use.
A beta rollout of the program was used to test it on roughly twenty-thousand citizens, mostly in the eastern Sydney suburbs of Albury and Dubbo. Though the launch of the app out of beta was made official, authorities at Service NSW – the government branch handling the program – have said that they are still ‘testing’ the app, with users reporting problems when signing up to use it.
Though the digital license is expected to be accepted at most venues, authorities are still advising users to carry a traditional plastic ID card “to avoid inconvenience”, as it may not be accepted as valid everywhere in NSW as of yet, and most certainly not outside the state or country.
“Always carry your plastic card if you know you’re going to need your driver licence, or if you plan to travel interstate.” Service NSW warns. They also caution citizens to ensure that their phone’s display is not cracked, as the license may not be considered valid if displayed on a damaged screen.
They have also issued statements reminding people to not use their phone while driving, and making it clear that they are not required to hand over their phone unlocked to authorities when displaying their license.
“You don’t have to hand over your phone. You may be asked to refresh your licence, by pulling down and releasing,” the Service NSW app says.
Security for the digital license includes a QR code that, when scanned by authorities, validates the name displayed on the license. The QR code expires after each use so it cannot be used more than once in a short period of time.
Sources: The Sydney Morning Herald