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UK driving licences could be going digital

A digital “prototype” version of the driving licence has been revealed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

DVLA chief executive Oliver Morley tweeted a picture of a digital pass version of the traditional driving licence photocard within Apple Wallet on an iPhone 6 along with the words: “So here’s a little prototype of something we’re working on #drivinglicence.”

A follow-up tweet from Morley added that “security is our priority” and its development was only made possible because the paper counterpart was ditched in June 2015.

He also said the digital version would act as an “add-on” for the photocard, as opposed to a direct replacement, which makes sense when not everyone has a smartphone (believe it or not).

Apple Wallet already has the ability to store boarding passes, credit cards, debit cards and discount cards, with fingerprint or passcode security and end-to-end encryption there to ensure the personal data is kept secure.

It does seem like an obvious move, given the fact the paper tax disc was replaced by an online system and that the paper driving counterpart licence is no longer necessary.

But how does the UK public benefit? Well, it would save the need to carry around the photocard and make it easier to share hire companies your driving details when trying to hire a vehicle.

America is already ahead in the digital driving licence department as US security company Morpho Trust has been testing a similar product in Iowa since August 2015. Meanwhile the New South Wales government Australia is about to eliminate the need for a physical card.

The government’s push towards digital is said to stem from cost-cutting, which would explain why British banknote and passport printer DeLaRue is working on a digital passport and that the NHS is spending £4-billion to become paperless.

No word on a date when the digital driving licence will arrive so keep that DVLA-branded bit of plastic in a safe place for the time being.

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