Top 5 Takeaways from Getting Started with Digital ID: A Look Inside California’s Mobile Driver’s License Program

In case you missed it, read through the highlights of last week's webinar and watch the recording.

Top 5 Takeaways from Getting Started with Digital ID: A Look Inside California’s Mobile Driver’s License Program

Last week, Government Technology and SpruceID hosted a webinar featuring a fireside chat between Wayne Chang, CEO and Founder of SpruceID, and Ajay Gupta, Chief Digital Transformation Officer at the State of California DMV, about their recently launched mobile driver’s license (mDL).

This conversation between Wayne and Ajay gave an inside look into the past couple of years working together to bring the Gartner-award-winning mDL to the State of California residents — from addressing complexities with implementation, working to adhere to global standards, understanding the rapidly evolving market ecosystem, and more.

Read through the top 5 takeaways of this conversation, and listen to the full recording below to learn how the State of California DMV worked alongside SpruceID as their technology partner to bring this project to life.

1 - People Expect a Digital Experience

At the start of this discussion, Ajay touched on how people expect a digital experience when interacting with any establishment in today's increasingly digital world. This expectation has been accelerated drastically by the pandemic when businesses were required to offer services online. With the shift to digital, people will inevitably be asked to verify their identity online in various situations.

Offering both a mobile driver’s license and an online self-serve onboarding experience provides increased efficiency and convenience for the user so they are not stuck in long lines waiting for a human to help them renew their driver’s license. It also greatly reduces the cost of operations within a DMV.

2 - Implementing an mDL Comes with Complexities

Standing up a program that provisions mobile driver’s licenses has many advantages, such as reducing fraud (seen today in situations such as the billions of dollars lost by false claims to unemployment benefits online) or eliminating fake IDs. However, getting to this point isn’t without challenges and complexities.

Starting out, one question the California DMV had was how they would gain residents’ trust when they started using their digital ID. In the webinar, Wayne and Ajay touch on how SpruceID helped to introduce cryptography and other security elements, such as biometrics, to allow California to securely provision mobile driver’s licenses that could be trusted and help to eliminate issues such as fraudulent claims.

Another challenge was creating transparency with users regarding how their information is handled in the California DMV wallet app. The California DMV and SpruceID prioritized keeping users’ data private without there being any digital trail of how and where residents use their mDL.

In addition, they mention how important it was for selective disclosure to be built into the app so that residents provide only the minimum amount of information required when being asked to present their digital ID. It should be clear to users exactly what information they consent to share in each situation. For example:

Despite having to work through several complexities with the technology and ecosystem along the way, both the California DMV and SpruceID describe how they're confident this solution best serves California residents while preserving their privacy and keeping their data secure. In the full webinar recording, listen to both Wayne and Ajay dissect some of the complexities they encountered throughout this undertaking, and how they were addressed by technology.

3 - Open-Source Has Its Advantages

One quality unique to SpruceID’s mobile driver’s license implementation is having built an open-source mobile wallet. The many benefits of using an open-source solution include things like customization, third-party audits, and increased trust and transparency. When discussing some of the open-source tools used, Ajay mentioned:

Allowing users to verify the authenticity and integrity of the software by checking the source code helps build accountability within a community of users.

In addition to the open-source approach, SpruceID also participates in a number of different working groups in order to contribute to some of the standards bodies on which our software is based. These standards bodies create technical frameworks to promote the safe and secure use of technology and define requirements for security, data elements, and more.

Wayne mentions how being an active participant and helping lead events for these standards groups has benefited SpruceID as an organization and has been a catalyst to drive the standards forward.

4 - Market Ecosystem Opportunities are Endless

A high point of the webinar was hearing Wayne and Ajay talk through the multitude of market opportunities that will be brought about by the launch of California’s mobile driver’s license.

SpruceID and the California DMV talk through the market ecosystem that is being developed around digital credentials today, as well as their current efforts working with organizations that will begin accepting mobile driver’s licenses as part of their business model:

Facilitating market growth, including momentum from both users of mobile driver’s licenses and businesses accepting these digital credentials, will open many doors and opportunities for growth in the overall ecosystem.

5 - The Future for California is Bright

As the webinar came to a close, Ajay talked through some of the exciting plans for the California DMV that lie ahead on their roadmap. To name a few, working with credit unions and banks to start accepting the mDL as an identity verification mechanism and creating digital registration cards, titles, and disabled placards. They are also collaborating with law enforcement on a way for police officers to safely and securely accept a mobile driver’s license.

SpruceID is looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the State of California DMV and working together as the current landscape evolves. We feel grateful and honored to have been able to partner with the California DMV team on this groundbreaking initiative.

Watch the Webinar

We’ve barely scratched the surface of what was covered during this inspiring and educational fireside chat, so head over to our YouTube channel to listen to the whole conversation between Wayne and Ajay.

Interested in chatting with us more about your own digital credentials, whether it’s augmenting existing infrastructure or creating something new? Contact us today.


About SpruceID: SpruceID is building a future where users control their identity and data across all digital interactions.