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As more of our lives exist on mobile devices, it was only a matter of time before our identity credentials became digital as well. Louisiana State Representative, Ted James of Baton Rouge, had the foresight to put the wheels in motion for Louisiana to be the first state to offer a digital driver’s license. In 2016, Representative James’s HB 481 passed in the Louisiana Legislature under Act 625. While the Louisiana Legislature is great at passing laws, the State needed Envoc’s expertise to create the technology to house the digital driver’s license. Over two years, Envoc partnered with Chad Lacour and state officials to make LA Wallet Louisiana’s, and the United States’, first fully functioning digital driver’s license.
It’s more important than ever to provide individuals with a reliable and verifiable apparatus to share and validate each other’s identities. Many of our life transactions occur online or through apps. Many people rely on Uber to get them where they’re going and Waitr to deliver food to their homes. Both interactions require trust as we invite someone into our personal vehicles or invite someone to our homes. While the concepts of taxi rides and home delivery aren’t new, they have become more prevalent. Additionally, people meet new friends and dates online, businesses hire new applicants from across the world without meeting face-to-face. Plastic, personal credentials can be easily counterfeit and it’s even easier to develop a false identity online. All these situations demand a dependable credential to verify each other’s identities to protect our health and digital presence.
Everyone at Envoc was eager to work on this project because we knew it was a unique opportunity for both Envoc and the State of Louisiana. Our first priority was to build a secure app that protected an individual’s rights and personal information. The first step involved working closely with the OMV and Louisiana State officials to learn and understand the laws and requirements, including several security components. The Louisiana State Police stipulated that there should be a “no-touch” policy; at no time should an officer take possession of a citizen’s mobile device. This policy would not only protect from unlawful searches and seizures but would also protect a citizen’s personal property when presenting their digital driver’s license to anyone other than law enforcement. Additionally, the app required anti-forgery precautions, much like the holograms and hidden identifiers that protect physical licenses from being counterfeited. Once we were able to generate pixel-perfect digital licenses we moved on to creating the web application to manage and secure app data as well as provide a communication layer between the app and the backend. Once our API specifications were created we began creating the mobile app. The iOS & Android apps were developed in parallel with the intention of launching them at the same time. The first milestone was finding a way for the app to display the high-resolution digital license securely without requiring network connection. Once that was accomplished, we added the ability to create and manage an LA Wallet account, as well as the ability to update the digital license once a physical license expires. The last major feature was implementing the in-app purchase for both iOS & Android. Once development was completed, we moved on to testing.
Once all legal and technical components were built and tested by our team, we moved into a closed pilot where over 100 people tested the app on both the iOS and Android platforms for several weeks. After the pilot, we were certain LA Wallet would not only be the first operational digital driver’s license in the US, but it would be a truly exceptional app. LA Wallet does not simply display an image of a physical Louisiana license. Instead, it obtains several image components and all license data from the OMV to create a unique high-resolution rendering of a Louisiana driver’s license. Once a user initially retrieves their license information with a network connection, the app securely stores the digital license to enable use even without a network connection. However, the app informs the user that the information may potentially be out-of-date. The “No Touch” requirements dictated by State Police provided the team with an opportunity to create a simple yet effective touch-activated security feature. When requested to do so, a citizen can press and hold to display a security seal to validate authenticity. While the security seal provides an extra layer of validation, our developers wanted to provide users with a real-time verification option. This led to the innovative VerifyYou™ system. Two LA Wallet users can verify one another’s identity by scanning a unique code that retrieves real-time information directly from the OMV. LA Wallet users may also scan the back of a physical Louisiana driver’s license to validate the authenticity using the AAMVA barcode. As the first digital driver’s license, LA Wallet has received local and national media coverage, and we have heard from many eager citizens who are ready to use their digital license.
ASP.NET Web Api
High-Res, Fully Rendered License Image
Touch-activated Security Seal
License Status Updating