There’s been a lot of discussion recently over whether to create a new system of digital vaccine “passports.” But that conversation is just a small part of a much larger movement aimed at creating a digital identity system, including a push by companies, motor vehicle departments, and some state legislatures to digitize the identity card that most Americans carry: the driver’s license.

At first blush, the idea of a driver’s license we can keep on our phone might sound good. Digital is often touted as the “future” and many people cast such a transition as inevitable. But digital is not always better — especially when systems are exclusively digital. There’s a reason that most jurisdictions have spurned electronic voting in favor of paper ballots, for example. And the transition from a plastic ID to a digital one is not straightforward: Along with opportunities, there are numerous problems that such a switch could create — especially if they’re not designed perfectly.

Today we’re releasing a report looking at digital driver’s licenses and their implications for our civil liberties. While not categorically opposing the concept of a digital identity system, we outline the many pitfalls that such a system creates if not done right, and some ominous long-term implications that we need to guard against. We call on state legislatures to slow down before rushing to authorize digital licenses, ask hard questions about such a system, and, if and when they decide to go ahead, to insist upon strong technological and policy measures to protect against the problems they are likely to create.


Give me liberty or give me death.

Created on Sep 17, 2020
By @gurlic