According to sources, Apple’s much-publicized digital driver’s license function comes at a cost to taxpayers.
Residents of eight US states will be able to save state IDs and driver’s licenses in the Apple Wallet software on their iPhone, according to a September announcement.
According to CNBC, Apple has “sole control” over numerous areas of the rollout.
However, “at taxpayer expense,” Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah “carry the burden of preserving [the feature].”
CNBC obtained details of the agreements between several of those states and Apple through public records requests and other means:
Apple retains control over when the feature is released and which devices are compatible, while state agencies are in charge of maintaining the essential computer systems and ensuring legal compliance, and Apple dictates how they report on the feature’s “success.”
State entities must hire or assign people and resources to support the project “on a timeframe chosen by Apple” and “designate” project managers to respond to Apple’s questions if Apple so wishes.
States are required by the contract to market the new function, but Apple has the authority to evaluate and approve those marketing materials.
Every new license holder or renewal must be “proactively” supplied the digital ID at no additional expense to the individual applying.
States must promote it to entities like local law enforcement and anyone else who examines IDs regularly.
According to CNBC’s article, “the final result is that states carry the burden of maintaining technological systems at taxpayer money,” which “benefits Apple and its stockholders by making its devices even more necessary than they are now.”
Financial technology writer, Jason Mikula who also accessed, commented on the development. He stated that states “have ceded a shocking degree of control to Apple”.
“Beyond giving Apple near-total control over the programme, states also agree to terms that make it nearly impossible to terminate the programme in the future,” he said.
According to two memoranda of understanding, “the state agencies that have entered into them can only terminate them with Apple’s consent or for a cause – if Apple breaches the terms of the agreement and doesn’t remedy within 30 days”.
Apple emphasized encryption and other security aspects when announcing the first specifics of its ID scheme, emphasizing that neither the business nor government officials could know “when or when” customers revealed IDs.
During the coronavirus epidemic, there was strong public opposition to the idea of digital Covid passports or other ID in certain nations, including the United Kingdom, despite the NHS Covid-19 app being widely used for that purpose in England.
Concerns about civil rights also contributed to the cancellation of a 2019 attempt in the UK to implement a more broad digital-ID scheme.