August 9, 2019The Journal Record |
OKLAHOMA CITY – The days of having to pry stiff plastic cards out of cramped wallets to prove identification may have reached an end for nearly 2,000 Oklahomans, and the state’s secretary of digital transformation and administration hopes that will be the case soon for many others in the Sooner State.
Apple iPhone users who are at least 21 and interested in creating mobile IDs for themselves can now log on to the state’s innovate.ok.gov website and accomplish it fairly easily. Digital Transformation Secretary David Ostrowe said Android phone users and others should be able to follow suit in short order.
It’s free to do, and Ostrowe said electronic identification, which will use biometric screening including facial recognition, will put Oklahoma ahead of many other states in leveraging technology to prevent things like identity theft, fraud and other financial crimes.
Nearly 2,000 Oklahomans – including Ostrowe – have already started using their phones as a primary source of ID. State law still requires them to carry their plastic driver’s licenses, but that may change as early as the next legislative session, he said. The option will remain in the future for people to use their old-style driver’s licenses exclusively, if they prefer. Ostrowe said he’s not aware of any plans being made either at the state or federal level to do away with old-style laminated driver’s licenses or other forms of ID.
Ostrowe said the Transportation Security Administration has been a little inconsistent so far in accepting his mobile ID exclusively, but he has used it successfully for things like airline and hotel check-ins. He said he’s heard mostly positive feedback all around.
“Everybody thinks it’s very positive, very cool,” he said.
The state intends to begin a big push in October to educate potential users about the benefits of mobile identification, as well as law enforcement officers and others who frequently have to ask people for ID. Ostrowe and others believe the IDs will make interactions between people and government and between people and retailers and others much quicker, easier and even safer in the future.
People shouldn’t be confused and think that new mobile IDs will be compliant with requirements of a Real ID law passed by the federal government in 2005. The law was passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the country after investigators found that 19 terrorists involved had obtained as many as 30 driver’s licenses and state-issued IDs. Five had duplicates of the same ID. The law set in place new standards for states to make it more difficult to perpetrate identity fraud. Oklahoma’s current driver’s licenses meet most Real ID requirements, but some work remains to be done to allow for computers in the state – at tag agencies, for example – to interface as required with federal systems.
Oklahoma resisted compliance for years, but Ostrowe said progress is now being made to meet the federal Real ID requirements. The state has submitted a request for a new extension on its timeline, and it’s expected that it will get an official federal approval after the latest extension runs out in the fall.
The office of Gov. Kevin Stitt released a statement addressing the extension: “Oklahoma continues to actively engage in developing its system to issue Real ID compliant documents. According to the latest timeline given to the Department of Public Safety by the vendor, the project maintains its progression toward the estimated target date of April 2020 for initial rollout. Additionally, full statewide implementation will be completed by September 2020.”
After the state completes its work and does become compliant with the federal law, Ostrowe said state driver’s licenses and other forms of state-issued identification, including mobile IDs, will automatically update to be in compliance.