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Finland Will Introduce a Mobile 'Driver's License' App (yle.fi) 61

The Finnish Broadcasting Corporation reports: Simo Karppinen, Unit Head at the Finnish Transport and Safety Agency Trafi, says it plans to roll out an app that will function as a free digital driving license by the end of summer. The agency said it expects many Finns to take up the use of the digital driving license as soon as it is released. The digital license has been in use by a test group who report successfully using the app where proof of identity is required, such as picking up postal packages. Other uses for the digital license include informing the owner of license renewal dates... The digital driving license will not record the location of its user or serve as a tracking device.
Slashdot reader Kiuas writes that it's being used as a supplement for traditional card licenses rather than a replacement, because "Current Finnish law mandates that all driver's licenses are handed out in a physical form. So everyone will still get a physical driver's license, but those who wish to do so can now leave their card at home and use the app instead.

Finland Will Introduce a Mobile 'Driver's License' App

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  • How is this supposed to work on a rooted Smartphone?
    Banking software usually has root detector software integrated, but as various demos and lectures at hacking conferences have shown, their success rate is probably somewhere below the average AV software against malware.
    If banking malware can make appear anything on screen, so can a software to "emulate" this. Of course, if it goes through everywhere, then using fake ID for bars, driving when underage, etc. just got a lot easier.

    • And I'd like to know how it will work on my Nokia Brick!
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Sunday February 04, 2018 @02:37PM (#56067007)

      Truth-on-server. The officer doesn't rely on on the information displayed on the screen to do anything except point at an entry in the police-accessible database. And that database must already exist, since the State today has to keep track of whose license is expired, who got a DUI, who has a CDL/motorcycle endorsement, etc...

      For instance, you could easily have you phone display a QR-code that encoded something like license-tracker://US.California.DLIDv2.1234512345 (someone probably screwed up v1). All the information then comes down from the already-existing-today backend. If you lie and say you are record #5432154321, then hope that person's photo looks just like you (and anyway, look-alike photos are an equal problem with physical licenses, couple of my friends had older siblings above the drinking age :-) )

      This is actually step up in security from truth-in-hard-to-forge-plastic with fancy holograms and other anti-counterfeiting measures. The essence there is the relying party assessing whether the document is legitimate. In the truth-on-server model, the relying party checks their own authoritative record and doesn't have to trust anything from outside it.

      [ Of course, this is assuming all-online. Obviously hard-to-forge instruments were created expressly for offline verification. The construction of a hybrid approach is left as an exercise for the reader. ]

      • People are always confusing me with #5432154321... I’m getting really tired of it.

      • Why have an app? Kust a picture of the qr code or a paper printout would work just as well. Or just tell tjem your name and DoB and have them look it up on the server.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday February 04, 2018 @02:38PM (#56067011)

      How is this supposed to work on a rooted Smartphone?

      I know nothing about Finland's system (even after reading the nearly content free article), but California considered a DL app [govtech.com] several years ago, and several of these issues were raised.

      If a cop pulls you over, they can look up your DL# and verify it matches what is displayed by the app, just like they can currently verify a physical card. So no underage driving.

      In a bank, the teller can give you a multi-digit code, which you enter into the app, which then verifies your info through DMV's server. There is no reason that a licensed bar could not do the same. So no underage drinking.

      Every problem that you list would actually be LESS of a problem with this system than with a physical ID.

      • Is there any sort of legal guidance in California stating that just because your phone is unlocked (to display the app) doesn’t mean the police can just take the phone and start searching through it?

        • California does not have a DL app. It was proposed as a bill in 2015, but never voted into law.

          So, no, there is no guidance for police officers about the use of an app that does not exist.

        • No need. Just have the app make it visible from something akin to apple wallet. I don't have to unlock my phone to use my boarding passes.
    • If you are smart enough to root your phone then I would hope you are smart enough to not hand the Police your unlocked phone because obviously they are going to need to plug the phone in to verify information and obviously you don't have an expectation of privacy at that point so it doesn't matter if you've consented to a search of the phone and every account linked to it...
      Why do you think NOBODY has gone on to implement this after considering it? Even politicians know that letting an algorithm go throug
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      I assume any such system would have a challenge / response built into it. i.e. Cops turn up, allows them to type your license into it and they expect to see some kind of reaction / code appear on your device. And if it doesn't then you'll be required to produce your actual licence at a station in the next X days.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The phone has to match the licence plate reader and the facial recognition.
      Thats a few data sets. The face of the person at the time of contact with police. The car they are using. The data on the phone, the phone account.
      The "rooted Smartphone" will have to match the car and any big gov database with a persons history, photo in that nation.
      The face of the person seen by the police at that time, their image, data sets on the phone ID, phone data and car plate have been seen together for years, past
  • Go on...tell me another one.
    That's funny right there.
    • Even if it doesn't track your location, it represents yet another attack vector on your phone. They didn't say anything about not sucking up all the other data on it.

      Other than that I like the idea. As long as it's optional and I can still use a regular driver's license like I do now.

      Current traffic stop:

      "License and registration, please." (just kidding - they never say "please")

      Future traffic stop:

      "Hand over your phone"

      Far distant dystopian future:

      You don't have to hand over anything - they already kno

      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        The far distant isn't that far at all.

        And in Europe you generally don't have to hand over the registration papers, the license plate is already checked when they stop you and if there's a doubt then they check the VIN on the car.

      • You don't have to hand over anything - they already know who you are,

        When I opened an account at my new bank they asked if I would allow them to scan my driving license to keep on file. I didn't think much of it until I went to the bank later. I walked up to the counter, gave my name and asked to do a withdrawal. The teller punched in my name and my photo popped up on her screen, she processed my withdrawal very quickly after that. I still had to sign my name on a little digital scanner, much like one would see at a checkout for using a credit card. Of course the bank h

        • It's a huge problem. But given the quality of "drivers" we have today, letting drivers get away with impaired driving, vehicular homicide, etc. would be a huge problem as well. I wish I knew how to solve the one without causing the other. Freedom requires responsibility, and it only seems to take a handful of jacka**es who can't figure that out in order to detract from the freedom of everyone.
    • Go on...tell me another one.

      That's funny right there.

      Considering you can just tap the “Deny” button at any “The Mobile Driver’s License app would like to use your location” prompt that might appear, I don’t see why it’s that hard to believe. After all, they’d just be another app, with no more access to your location than any other. I have no problem with this notion, provided they don’t mandate through law that location data be enabled for their app with no opt-out or ability to use a physical license inst

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Would a gov/mil/police request ever respect the consumer level user settings?
        Would any consumer level user settings the user could track show what the gov app was OS and hardware approved to do?
        • Would a gov/mil/police request ever respect the consumer level user settings?
          Would any consumer level user settings the user could track show what the gov app was OS and hardware approved to do?

          How long would the government be able to keep quiet this ability to track the users of their apps? I'm sure that people would not be surprised that the government would lie to them but then if the government did lie then people would simply not use the app. What do you expect the government to do then? Require smart phone users to install the app? Then people will leave the phone home, wrap the phone in aluminum foil as they drive, or find other ways to subvert this.

          I'm assuming Finland has some level o

        • Look, either the government can override your OS restrictions, in which case they have root access to your phone and don't need the app, or they cannot override your OS restrictions, and denying the permissions is enough.

  • This is an excellent idea. Apps cannot be written to spoof output. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
    • Just like regular cards can be? The police will query the government database for your information anyway, they don't just trust the card itself.
  • I've done this for ages and it works for me. All my IDs are photographed and scanned into KeePass entries. If I ever don't have my wallet I pull it up on my phone. The one time I was stopped the cop puzzled on it for a few seconds, shrugged, and told me to be on my way. Since essentially every police force in the free world can look up your drivers license on their in-car computer, it's hard for them to argue that not physically holding it is so terrible anyway.

    • I've done this for ages and it works for me.

      Whart country are you in? It would have helped to have said.

      Since essentially every police force in the free world can look up your drivers license on their in-car computer, it's hard for them to argue that not physically holding it is so terrible anyway.

      In the UK it has never been a requirement to carry your physical driving licence when driving, although many people don't realise this. I don't - my driving licence is too valuable to have it knocking about in a pocket when I'm out. From the gov.uk website :-

      If you’re stopped, the police can ask to see your:
      driving licence
      insurance certificate
      MOT certificat

    • In my (US) state, you are not allowed to have more than one driver's license card. Why not?

  • The digital driving license will not record the location of its user or serve as a tracking device.

    See? It says so right on the tin. No. Really. Big Brother isn't watching. No matter what kind of Terrist/AmberAlert stuff we later proclaim, we PROMISE we won't use this to indiscriminately do whatever the fuck we feel like. Really. You can trust us. Honest.

  • I haven't been pulled over in at least ten years, but there is no way that I am every handing over my smartphone to an officer, or anyone else for that matter.
    • Hopefully, the app will work as a widget on the lock screen.

      By the way, a lockscreen widget is what you want to use when you're video recording police officers, make sure your phone can still be locked when it's recording video (I'm only speaking about Android phones, I don't know if the iPhone has the same capability).

  • " where proof of identity is required,"

    That's an identity card, as we non-US-citizens call it.

    Driving licenses are for, you guessed it, driving cars.

    Lots of people don't have driving licenses but they still get packages, buy alcohol , open a bank-account, take a flight or other stuff needing identification.

    • Lots of people don't have driving licenses but they still get packages, buy alcohol , open a bank-account, take a flight or other stuff needing identification.

      In Washington state (and I imagine most other states as well), non-drivers can still go to the department of licensing and get a state ID for such purposes. Requirements are the same as getting a drivers license, excepting the driving competency parts. My daughter had one for several years, since she actually wasn’t keen on driving. We finally started encouraging her to learn to drive in her 20s.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 04, 2018 @02:18PM (#56066913)

    In Brazil already has this in place:
    https://servicos.serpro.gov.br/cnh-digital/
    http://www.brasil.gov.br/infraestrutura/2017/07/carteira-de-habilitacao-eletronica-e-aprovada-pelo-contran
    Not all states off it already, they have until july 2018 to comply (original date was february 2018...).

    It is just a digitally signed version of the paper document, you have to register the cellphone in order for the digital document to be valid.

  • ... you have to turn your smartphone over to the officer and let him take it back to his vehicle to "call it in"?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Several states in Australia are piloting this also. Itâ(TM)ll be the norm before long.

  • There's at least one private company [as a contractor for the state(s)] working on doing something like this in the United States. There's already a pilot program in at least one state.

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      My auto insurance card is on my phone - as a PDF - how is this in anyway different?

  • I have a driving license since 33 years.
    I was asked twice to show it. Once when a fuse burned out and my rear lights went dead, and once when I actually was a bit to fast in France on a highway (and I actually did not have the license with me ...)
    Why would I need an app? (Actually I have photos of all my important documents on my phone anyway).

  • I find it completely frustrating on how much faith people put in a little piece of laminated paper. That piece of paper proves nothing.

    I tried to explain the worthlessness of a license to drive to someone, on how unless the document is verified in some way it means nothing. The guy told me of course it has value, when pulled over he feels great confidence in having the officer look at his ID card. I tried to explain to him that the officer is not checking his license, he's checking how compliant he is.

  • Please explain to me how this is in any way better than simply setting a reminder slightly shorter than the renewal date on your new driver's license and a PDF of your image on your phone.

    This is such a big nothing burger.

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