USA's 2023 Real ID air travel requirement could benefit from Apple's iOS 15 digital driver...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 15
Repeatedly delayed, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Real ID enforcement, which will require more secure identification credentials for domestic air travel by May 2023, could see even stronger uptake once Apple launches digital driver's licenses in its upcoming iOS 15 update.




The DHS Real ID program will require every domestic airline passenger ages 18 and older to carry with them a compliant, secure license identification card, if they do not have a U.S. passport.

In other words, American citizens will no longer be able to take flights within the U.S. with just a basic state-issued driver's license -- they'll need to have a newly enhanced Real ID card, which is now being offered by all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories.

DHS intended to make Real ID the law of the land years ago, but has repeatedly delayed enforcement to give both states and citizens more time. Because Real ID cards are more secure, citizens are required to provide more proof of identification when obtaining a new license or identification card -- something that was made even more challenging by the onset of Covid and closure of many state offices.

Most recently, in April, DHS delayed enforcement of Real ID from Oct. 1, 2021 to May 3, 2023, citing the ongoing pandemic.

Right time, right place, right partner

These secure requirements and delays present a unique opportunity for Apple, which last week at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference announced that it will later this year introduce digital driver's licenses that can be used to securely identify a person from their iPhone or Apple Watch.

As part of the announcement, Apple revealed that it has partnered with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which is part of the DHS, to ensure that its digital ID system will be compliant with new domestic travel requirements.

Accordingly, a screenshot of the digital ID shown at WWDC clearly spells out that "Real ID Status" will be included on the virtual card.




Details from Apple on the new digital ID were relatively light -- the feature won't even launch alongside iOS 15, and is only promised to debut before the end of the year. Apple also hasn't disclosed which U.S. states will support the feature at launch.

However, the combination of receiving the endorsement of the TSA, plus the fact that many U.S. citizens will need to get a new ID card in order to travel within the country in the next few years, could drive a perfect storm of adoption for digital identification.

Security concerns remain hypothetical

As with any time new technology is introduced -- particularly when it replaces something physical and analog -- there is always some pushback and, frankly, paranoia.

Upon last week's announcement, NPR quoted privacy experts who raised hypothetical concerns that seem unrealistic to anyone who knows how Apple operates. One critic suggested Apple could one day require transaction fees to use a digital ID, while another said it could be a way for the iPhone maker to track users -- neither of which is congruent with the company's established business practices.




For its part, Apple has revealed that presenting an ID card will work the same as Apple Pay, requiring secure authentication with Face ID or Touch ID. The new system will also use the same Secure Enclave leveraged by Apple Pay, which significantly reduces the chance of fraud.

It's that very same security that led credit card companies to quickly embrace Apple Pay at launch. Apple Pay uses a tokenization system that randomly generates a credit card number and transmits it wirelessly over NFC.

By never sharing the user's actual credit card number, the risk of fraud is reduced to essentially zero.

It's easy to see why the TSA sees the same kinds of security advantages with a digital ID. It also seems likely that many states could reach the same conclusion, and rapidly embrace digital driver's licenses as ID card requirements become more stringent.

Though culturally the U.S. is accustomed to physical identification cards, the flaws in the current system are numerous -- anyone who was a teenager in the U.S. knows someone who had a fake or "borrowed" driver's license that they could us to buy alcohol or tobacco products.

By connecting a secure, authenticated digital ID card to a biometric security system like Touch ID or Face ID, the opportunities to use false identification for anything -- whether it be domestic travel, or just attempting to buy a 12-pack of Miller Lite -- will become that much more difficult.




It's a win for Apple, which further drives adoption of its digital Wallet; it's a win for DHS and the TSA, which strive to make airline travel as safe as possible; and it's a win for states, which are responsible for issuing driver's licenses.

Of course, there will be skeptics who would rather not adopt a digital ID card, as there should be. And for them, physical driver's licenses and other accepted forms of identification will remain.

But for those willing to embrace enhanced security -- with the added benefit of having to carry one less physical card, or to ditch your wallet entirely -- the new option of digital identification will be welcomed.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    iOS_Guy80iOS_Guy80 Posts: 527member
    Cannot wait for it to be implemented.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 18
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 552member
    Had to renew my driver license during the pandemic, which was surprisingly difficult, even knowing my state is making the process gratuitously hard as a form of voter suppression. The Real ID compliant license is easier to counterfeit in every way than my last license was. Lenticular arrays instead of holograms, no microprinting, only a little UV reactivity. I am unimpressed. Would only be marginally harder to fake one of these than a birth certificate (which, in most states, is trivial to fake).

    As for digital ID cards, I look forward to more information about how they work. Hopefully it's something like the emergency medical ID. Showing it should disable the Lightning port and lock the phone such that the passcode is required to unlock it. The screen showing what will be presented suggests it might actually be sent electronically for viewing on a device which is not your phone. Would cops, bouncers, grocery store clerks, and so on have to carry around a separate device capable of receiving and verifying information? That would seem to be quite a high requirement for a lot of places.
    dysamoriaGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 3 of 18
    multimediamultimedia Posts: 951member
    The “Real ID” is a $500 problem for me. My birth certificate shows that I have a first name, two middle names and a last name. When I was about 21, I discovered my second middle name which my parents denied they had given me (apparently a clerk added it from my Father’s middle name). I liked it so much that I began only using it and my last name going forward.

    Now the California DMV won’t give me a “Real ID” until I go through the courts to formally change my second middle name to my first name to the tune of $500 - even though it shows my name on the birth certificate (as a second middle name) and have been using it as my first name for more than 50 years. I don’t plan to ever fly again (I’m 74 and live in a Paradise called Santa Cruz CA). So I’m not going to spend $500 for something I’ll never use. Bureaucrats. 

    Hope this won’t keep me from being able to use Apple’s Wallet from storing my Unreal driver’s license.
    edited June 15 leehammdysamoriaCelticPaddyDogperson
  • Reply 4 of 18
    leehammleehamm Posts: 49member
    So will a passport be a valid form of identification? You’d expect so, for travel. For credit, it is not always accepted. 

    For the purposes of revenue generation, these licenses currently have a lifetime. It’s always seemed a little silly that your identification ‘expires’, for some bureaucratic reason. 
  • Reply 5 of 18
    leehammleehamm Posts: 49member
    The “Real ID” is a $500 problem for me. My birth certificate shows that I have a first name, two middle names and a last name. When I was about 21, I discovered my second middle name which my parents denied they had given me (apparently a clerk added it from my Father’s middle name). I liked it so much that I began only using it and my last name going forward.
    I swapped first and middle names at 17, between high school and university, some 45 years ago. No one has noticed yet. I agree: this is bureaucratic nonsense. 
    dysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 18
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,429member
    It’s not just bureaucratic nonsense; it’s also authoritarian nonsense.

    It does not serve the purpose it purports to because it’s not actually secure. As mentioned by others, the documents required to get it are easily forgeable. Like software copy protection schemes, it only hurts honest people.

    It turns out that I do not have my birth certificate. My parents thought we did because none of us knew that the thing the hospital gives parents is a piece of garbage no better than a gift shop keepsake.

    I was born in the USA. So were both my parents before me, but I can’t get this bulshitty “RealID” and prove I’m a legitimate American without jumping through various idiotic hoops. Some of those hoops are literal catch-22 scenarios. I started trying to get it, and I gave up... as the people who installed this BS intended.

    Aside from acting as a voter suppression effort, it’s just security theatre. Like the TSA.

    Between the ID nonsense and the authoritarianism & abuse of the TSA, I don’t ever fly. My girlfriend lives in California. That’s literally the opposite side of the continent from me. She wants me to visit her there some day so that it’s not just her coming to see me. I understand that want. However, If I don’t manage to fly there and back before the BS “Real ID” requirement, I don’t know how I’m going to manage it. Redouble my efforts to jump through the damned flaming hoops, I guess. All this effort just to subject myself to the police state BS of the TSA... it’s not motivating.

    Luckily, the effort to require “RealID” for voting was struck down in my state.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    jccjcc Posts: 300member
    The problem with this is that with a physical Id, it’s not recorded by the TSA. They merely do a quick eyeball to see that it matches the ticket. If you use this digital ID. They will be able to record exactly who you are. Every info on that driver’s license will be logged. Do you really want that? I don’t.
    Dogperson
  • Reply 8 of 18
    jccjcc Posts: 300member
    dysamoria said:
    It’s not just bureaucratic nonsense; it’s also authoritarian nonsense.

    It does not serve the purpose it purports to because it’s not actually secure. As mentioned by others, the documents required to get it are easily forgeable. Like software copy protection schemes, it only hurts honest people.

    It turns out that I do not have my birth certificate. My parents thought we did because none of us knew that the thing the hospital gives parents is a piece of garbage no better than a gift shop keepsake.

    I was born in the USA. So were both my parents before me, but I can’t get this bulshitty “RealID” and prove I’m a legitimate American without jumping through various idiotic hoops. Some of those hoops are literal catch-22 scenarios. I started trying to get it, and I gave up... as the people who installed this BS intended.

    Aside from acting as a voter suppression effort, it’s just security theatre. Like the TSA.

    Between the ID nonsense and the authoritarianism & abuse of the TSA, I don’t ever fly. My girlfriend lives in California. That’s literally the opposite side of the continent from me. She wants me to visit her there some day so that it’s not just her coming to see me. I understand that want. However, If I don’t manage to fly there and back before the BS “Real ID” requirement, I don’t know how I’m going to manage it. Redouble my efforts to jump through the damned flaming hoops, I guess. All this effort just to subject myself to the police state BS of the TSA... it’s not motivating.

    Luckily, the effort to require “RealID” for voting was struck down in my state.
    You actually just proved that it’s legit as it’s done to filter out the fake citizens who claim all sorts of things but have nothing to back up those claims.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 18
    sunman42sunman42 Posts: 132member
    Got my Real ID license last year in Maryland without ever leaving my desk, but then again Maryland isn't trying to suppress voting.

    It may be a while before I ever get in an airplane again (now more because of psychotic fellow passengers and insanely inadequate legroom than COVID fears), but I've been to enough one-gate airports to know that the screener/checkin clerk.baggage handler is going to say, "Uh uh. You have to show me your real license, not a picture." If TSA approves the use of this, it should work at major hubs, but smaller airports may be an issue.
    edited June 15 DogpersonRayz2016
  • Reply 10 of 18
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 730member
    sunman42 said:
    Got my Real ID license last year in Maryland without ever leaving my desk, but then again Maryland isn't trying to suppress voting.

    It may be a while before I ever get in an airplane again (now more because of psychotic fellow passengers and insanely inadequate legroom than COVID fears), but I've been to enough one-gate airports to know that the screener/checkin clerk.baggage handler is going to say, "Uh uh. You have to show me your real license, not a picture." If TSA approves the use of this, it should work at major hubs, but smaller airports may be an issue.
    Yes….needs real ID to travel but not to vote. Its like suppressing my travels
  • Reply 11 of 18
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,512member
    Y'all wouldn't believe how many people have defective IDs. I spent 15 years validating people's IDs before I, or people who worked for/with me, granted them access to certain things - things which must remain nameless, or I'll have to... you know. They had to show two valid IDs with full names and the exact names on both IDs had to match - letter for letter. If they were as much as one letter off, or if a middle name was missing, access was denied. There are so many things that can go wrong with IDs. For example, people may get their name changed (eg, marriage, divorce) and not update all their IDs. Sometimes their IDs don't match because their names were spelled wrongly from the very beginning and they didn't bother to get it changed. Some ID issuers make it difficult to get their name changed, which is why people sometimes don't try very hard to update their IDs. Some people's names have odd characters like apostrophes and dashes, and they don't always match across different IDs (because some issuers don't use apostrophes or dashes) which results in mismatches when computer programs are searching for names.

    Based on my experiences, I would estimate that 5% of all people have at least one ID with a wrong name issued. And people never think of that as a positive thing, but it is if you want the government to be confused about your identity. Some people would love to have no IDs at all from any level of government. A conflicting ID might get you out of a speeding ticket, because the name on the ticket might not be an exact match with one of your other IDs. But I'm not a lawyer.

    People think that the government is one monolithic entity with a single database containing people's data, including their names. In fact it's a complex assembly of databases each one of which may contain an error for any specific person. These different departments, especially between federal and state governments, don't share data readily, and certainly don't validate and correct each others' data. I believe there are some laws which require separate databases for different departments. RealID is another potential mismatch. Everyone who hates being tracked by their government should be eager to try to get one of their "wrong names" onto their RealID. And then you can show your misspelled ID to all your close friends for a great laugh. I once met someone who had three digits in one of his names, on an unimportant ID, and he sent an email to request a correction, and I tried to stop him, "Don't do that! You're the only person in the world with a digit in your name!" He tried to cancel the request, but it was too late; it got fixed.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 18
    boxcatcherboxcatcher Posts: 239member
    Lot of extraneous stuff in these comments.

    Anyhow, DHS/TSA is definitely the means to prod meaningful adoption.

    Personally, I’d like to see the US Code (where the REAL ID requirements are set) amended such that there’s a requirement for any data, transmitted for the purpose of validation of an ID, to be deleted within 24 hours.  I also think the Code should mandate that a digital ID is only REAL ID compliant if it can be presented without device unlock.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,512member
    I’d like to see the US Code (where the REAL ID requirements are set) amended such that there’s a requirement for any data, transmitted for the purpose of validation of an ID, to be deleted within 24 hours.  I also think the Code should mandate that a digital ID is only REAL ID compliant if it can be presented without device unlock.
    Interesting suggestion. I've seen documentaries from the UK where they have limited time where the government can hold people's DNA or other biometrics. I like time limited restrictions on holding personal data. Perhaps 24 hours is a little too short, but the idea is sound.
    boxcatcher
  • Reply 14 of 18
    Real ID was always a dumb idea. The fact that it's been delayed again until 2023 despite being signed into law in 2005 shows how unimportant it actually is to travel safety.
    boxcatcher
  • Reply 15 of 18
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,274member
    The “Real ID” is a $500 problem for me. My birth certificate shows that I have a first name, two middle names and a last name. When I was about 21, I discovered my second middle name which my parents denied they had given me (apparently a clerk added it from my Father’s middle name). I liked it so much that I began only using it and my last name going forward.

    Now the California DMV won’t give me a “Real ID” until I go through the courts to formally change my second middle name to my first name to the tune of $500 - even though it shows my name on the birth certificate (as a second middle name) and have been using it as my first name for more than 50 years. I don’t plan to ever fly again (I’m 74 and live in a Paradise called Santa Cruz CA). So I’m not going to spend $500 for something I’ll never use. Bureaucrats. 

    Hope this won’t keep me from being able to use Apple’s Wallet from storing my Unreal driver’s license.

    Me too!
    Well not quite:   They will not issue a real id to me because they say my birth certificate is not the right kind of birth certificate -- even though that's all they issued in Pittsburgh back in 1950.

    I look forward to Apple Wallet containing digital id.  But the government really needs to get its act together before requiring IDs.

    My mom would have had a similar problem because her grandmother didn't like the name her parents gave her so, her birth certificate listed her as Catherine Smith rather than Kathleen Smith.
    edited June 16
  • Reply 16 of 18
    leehamm said:
    So will a passport be a valid form of identification? You’d expect so, for travel. For credit, it is not always accepted. 

    For the purposes of revenue generation, these licenses currently have a lifetime. It’s always seemed a little silly that your identification ‘expires’, for some bureaucratic reason. 
    With photo IDs it's understandable - you undergo physical changes as you age and the photo on the ID may not be close enough to your current appearance for a match beyond reasonable doubt.

    I formerly had a colleague who used to work at a high school, and one of the students would "borrow" his ID when trying to get alcohol or access to venues where it was served. My colleague was always bemused that it worked - the two of them looked nothing alike other than having red hair.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    longfanglongfang Posts: 254member
    jcc said:
    The problem with this is that with a physical Id, it’s not recorded by the TSA. They merely do a quick eyeball to see that it matches the ticket. If you use this digital ID. They will be able to record exactly who you are. Every info on that driver’s license will be logged. Do you really want that? I don’t.
    Besides the fact that all that info is already in some govt database, what exactly is it that you’re concerned about?  That you took a certain flight?  Well they have that in a database as well.  
    GeorgeBMacwilliamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 18
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,274member
    longfang said:
    jcc said:
    The problem with this is that with a physical Id, it’s not recorded by the TSA. They merely do a quick eyeball to see that it matches the ticket. If you use this digital ID. They will be able to record exactly who you are. Every info on that driver’s license will be logged. Do you really want that? I don’t.
    Besides the fact that all that info is already in some govt database, what exactly is it that you’re concerned about?  That you took a certain flight?  Well they have that in a database as well.  

    It always gives me a chuckle that those most likely to be raising the flag and chanting "USA" are the same who fear the government of that country.

    Regardless of the form of government, if the government isn't working for the people, it needs to be replaced.   And that's the single biggest strong point of democracy,  the people can say:   "You're Fired!"
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