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AAMVA’s new Driver License Data Verification (DLDV) service aims to meet jurisdiction goals of protecting a credential’s integrity by curbing identity theft and document fraud.

It has been decades since the driver’s license was solely used as a means to prove that an individual is adept at driving a motor vehicle. Over the years, as establishing identity has grown in importance in commercial transactions, the driver’s license evolved into the primary document used to verify if people are really who they say they are.

Consequently, businesses across North America primarily rely on the driver’s license—and non-driver identification card—as a means to differentiate citizens for transactions in which identity is an important factor. And make no mistake: Identity matters to commercial entities—a lot—for the negative financial and sometimes legal ramifications that can occur due to identity theft and document fraud.

Merchants have been clamoring for ways to verify the validity of the driver’s license or ID card because of their heavy reliance on these documents to prove identity. One solution to verify the data on the card: Confirm, in real time, that the data is actually what’s on file with the issuer. And that’s exactly what AAMVA’s new Driver License Data Verification (DLDV) service does. “We recognized that interest for the product was there, so AAMVA worked with industry and the jurisdictions to create the service,” says Philip Quinlan, vice president of business solutions at AAMVA.

Matching up

While the impetus for DLDV came from the commercial sector, Quinlan says that state DMVs ultimately provided the direction for how to structure and shape the service. The end result: a simple, easy to implement electronic service that uses real- time data and has a minimal impact on jurisdictions’ workloads. Also, because of privacy concerns, no data is released to the third-party vendor—only a “match” or “no match” response is given.

“From a technical point of view, the way we have implemented the solution is through AAMVAnet, which was set up back in the early ‘90s to allow for the sharing of information among states,” says Philippe Guiot, CIO at AAMVA. “Because states are already supporting the types of connections DLDV requires [through AAMVAnet], adding one more [connection] to their system is not a big thing to do,” he says.

DLDV routes data queries from third-party vendors to jurisdictions via AAMVAnet. The information on file with the jurisdiction is compared to the query, and then a “match” or “no match” response for each attribute on the request is relayed back to the vendor. Attributes include name, driver’s license number, date of birth and address, among others.

“States are comfortable with this approach,” Quinlan says. “It’s simple and does not provide personally identifiable information to the third parties—everything goes through AAMVAnet.”

Mark Lowe, AAMVA board member and director of the motor vehicle division at the Iowa Department of Transportation, reinforces Quinlan’s thoughts: “We’re not creating new relationships, but we’re strengthening our existing one [with AAMVA],” he says.

Iowa was one of the jurisdictions that participated in the 2012 DLDV pilot program, which proved that there is demand for the DLDV service across multiple sectors and markets. “We know that it’s fairly easy to get a fraudulent license, so the need for coming up with a system where you can verify in real time that the document has been issued by a DMV is there,” Guiot says. Quinlan also notes there has been a lot of commercial interest in the service because of the high value of real-time data verification to businesses.

“The ‘bad guys’ [people committing identity theft or documentation fraud] are counting on the fact that the document will only be subject to visual or machine inspection—not a query back to the issuer,” adds Geoff Slagle, director of identity management at AAMVA. “DLDV will verify that there actually is a record associated with a document and that the data on the document is valid.”

While it’s easy for jurisdictions to join and use the service, Guiot notes that there are a number of stringent steps that third parties must take in order to utilize and benefit from DLDV. “We have specifications that they need to comply with in order to connect to the [network] environment,” he says. “They must work with us to access the network and have the correct software in place.”

Typically, the third-party vendor is a gateway partner or aggregator that is connected to the merchants and end-users. Quinlan says the pilot established a business model that benefits all parties involved, including DMVs and DOTs.

“DLDV offers a potential revenue opportunity for those who participate in the service,” Quinlan says. There’s a cost to the third-party aggregator for the “match” or “no match” data verification. The third party then can charge its commercial clients for the insight gleaned from DLDV, and these commercial entities can in turn charge a service fee to the individual whose identity needs to be verified for a transaction—if they choose to do so. Jurisdictions share in the revenue earned from the initial cost to the gateway partner.

Jurisdictions on board

A number of jurisdictions plan to take advantage of the new DLDV service from the start, including Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska and New Mexico. Many other jurisdictions currently are reviewing plans to participate, and it would be extremely easy for additional jurisdictions to sign on and participate in the service, too. “The thing I love about [DLDV] is the simplicity,” Slagle says. “It’s piggybacking on an existing system that is tried, tested and familiar to the jurisdictions—I think it’s going to be very useful to a great number of people.”

“Florida’s participation in the program will enable AAMVA to access the jurisdiction’s records to verify data of driver license, driver permit and identification card in an effort to prevent identity theft and fraud,” says Maureen Johnson, chief of the division of motorist services for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “This program assists merchants in combating consumer fraud, which in turn saves on financial consequences to the merchants and investigations into these types of cases.”

Lowe says Iowa finds the program enticing not just for its goal of reducing fraud, but also for its potential to be a new source of revenue, as the information that DOTs and DMVs host in their databases is incredibly valuable. “I think there are a lot of state agencies like ours where traditional revenue funding is limited and even diminishing, so we need to be open to new concepts about how we can legitimately leverage this information that has value to positively influence our revenue—DLDV offers a real opportunity for that,” he says.