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California to Expand Digital ID Pilot Program in Coming Weeks

California to Expand Digital ID Pilot Program in Coming Weeks

Christine Rolin passes her iphone over a scanner as she uses a mobile app for expedited passport and customer screening for international travelers arriving at Miami International Airport on March 4, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Jason Blair

Jason Blair

8/11/2023

Updated: 8/11/2023

The California DMV is planning to expand its pilot program for a digital wallet smartphone app that’s currently available for both Android and Apple phones.

“About 2,000 participants are actively using this service and providing feedback, with the pool of pilot participants set to expand in phases over the coming weeks before a broader public rollout,” the department told The Epoch Times in an email.

The state’s DMV said the new digital wallet is being developed to “international standards.” The intention is that it will eventually be accepted not just across state borders but also in other countries.

In January, California Gov. Gavin Newsom hinted at the digital wallet during the state’s budget proposal, saying: “In just a matter of months we’re finally going to have those digital wallets where you can get your driver’s license on a digital wallet, and we’re going to do it like no other state has done it, and there’s only a few that have. But there’s issues. Ours, we think, will be the next level.”

States that have already implemented a digital ID include Arizona, Colorado, and Maryland.

A screenshot of the California DMV’s digital wallet app for Android smartphones in the Google Play app store taken August 8, 2023. (Jason Blair/The Epoch Times)

A screenshot of the California DMV’s digital wallet app for Android smartphones in the Google Play app store taken August 8, 2023. (Jason Blair/The Epoch Times)

Currently, there are two items available to add to California’s digital wallet app. First is a digital driver’s license called a “Mobile Driver’s License” or mDL.

According to the California DMV, the TSA PreCheck program accepts the IDs at San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Jose International Airports, as well as 26 other airports nationally.

Users can also add an age verification ID called TrueAge to the wallet. This allows someone to verify they are old enough to make age-restricted purchases using a scannable QR code.

At the time of this writing, there are 16 businesses that accept TrueAge, spread out through California, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, and Minnesota.

The California DMV still advises users to carry a physical ID or driver’s license.

“The mDL is not meant to replace the physical driver’s license, but gives Californians another convenient option for identity verification,” a spokesperson stated.

They also said the ID will allow users to share only necessary information when using it and avoid revealing unnecessary details like a name or address. They are continuing to work with interested groups to encourage broader acceptance of the Mobile Driver’s License.

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Jason Blair

Jason Blair

Author

Jason is a reporter based in San Francisco covering California news.

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