Everything seems to be going digital these days: music, household bills, shopping, social lives. Now even Australian drivers’ licences are set to go digital, with the NSW government announcing licences will be stored through an app on smartphones by 2019.
The reality of handling physical money is becoming more and more redundant with online banking, eftpos and payWave machines, so drivers’ licences going digital was only a matter of time . Sometimes I forget money actually exists and isn’t just a figure on my Commbank app.
Finance and Services Minister Dominic Perrottet stated,
“If you carry a smartphone in your pocket and you’re looking forward to a wallet-free future, digital licences make so much sense.”
The idea was first introduced in 2015, was set to be rolled out by mid 2016, but was delayed due to teething problems.
The licences will be password protected on the app, and you will also have the option of holding a traditional copy of the licence. However, if you hold just a digital copy of your licence, and are pulled over by police, you may be fined for not being able to show your licence if your phone is flat. This raises questions for those who have a cracked screen, which would impact the visibility of the licence. Also, first the police want us to not be so concerned with our phones while driving, and soon they’ll be pulling us over, to ask us to get them out?
The move towards digitising licences, (bartender and casino worker licences have already seen this change) may make us even more dependent on our phones than we already are. Phones are just as easily stolen as phones, but phones also have the potential to be hacked. This would make our phones a pocket vault of personal data all in one device: a thief’s wet dream.
I’m all for digital licences, as I’m for anything that cuts down on resources, but I’m a little scared as to what could happen if someone got a hold of a digital copy of my licence. There’s only so much you can do to manipulate a physical copy of a licence, but manipulating a digital licence for identity theft, could be disastrous.
All I hope is that renewing the digital licence won’t be as expensive as the physical ones, otherwise, my digital wallet will not be happy.