Next Step for mDL

Next Step for mDL

The Digital Trust Service provides the framework for interoperability, security and privacy

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With more jurisdictions exploring mobile driver’s license (mDL) solutions, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that mDLs are issued by a bona fide issuing authority and that they are safe, secure, privacy respecting and interoperable. The AAMVA Digital Trust Service (DTS) provides the single, secure and convenient point of trust from which issuing authorities and relying parties can obtain the public keys used when authenticating mDLs. The keys are downloaded from the DTS to be uploaded into the relying party reader device. There is no connectivity to the DTS during the transaction. “The DTS is the one stop shop for relying parties to get public keys from jurisdictions who have stood up mDL solutions,” says Mike McCaskill, AAMVA director of identity management. “It’s a guarantee for those relying parties that the jurisdictions are following the standards that pertain to interoperability, privacy and security for the customers of the jurisdictions. The relying parties know they can trust those certificates because they are getting them from the DTS.”

For jurisdictions that offer an mDL, a top priority is ensuring the mDL is widely accepted by relying parties like retailers and financial institutions. Interoperability is necessary for that mDL to be accepted not only in the home jurisdiction, but also in other states, provinces and countries. The DTS is the framework that makes security and interoperability a reality. “The intent of it is built right into its name—it’s about trust,” says Eric Jorgensen, director of the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division and a member of the AAMVA International Board of Directors.

“The DTS is there so that it’s easier for those relying parties to consume and trust our mDL, that it really was issued by us, that it is a real driver’s license, and they can use it as part of the ecosystem.”

Security and interoperability of mDLs is rooted in the public/private cryptographic key pair. The private key, used to sign mDL data, is maintained by the issuing authority while the public key is used by relying parties to authenticate the mDL. The DTS reduces the burden of distributing the issuing authority public keys to relying parties.

To maximize trust, interoperability and reliability, the mDL solution is vetted for compliance with domestic and international standards and guidelines. As the non-profit organization representing the issuing authorities, AAMVA is recognized as the best organization poised to develop and maintain the DTS.

Through participating in the DTS, issuing authorities can be sure that their digital credentials can be validated and are compliant with domestic and international standards for cross-jurisdictional interoperability. The DTS also provides relief for jurisdictions from the challenge of supporting countless relying parties and keeping them free to focus on what matters most: providing safe, secure identity credentials to their customers. The DTS provides a single, secure and convenient point of trust that issuing authorities can use when authenticating mDLs issued by other issuing authorities.

“It really is about serving our customers,” says Spencer R. Moore, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Driver Services and chair of the AAMVA International Board of Directors. “Customers want services from all the DMV community to be seamless. It’s not just about Georgia, it’s not just about another state or jurisdiction. They want us to be seamless, and this gives us the best opportunity to be seamless and seamless in a very secure way. Joining the DTS is our future, it’s where we’re going as a community.”

“I love being in the front of this—not just as Arizona as a state, but as an organization, as AAMVA, to be out in front making sure that identity remains a public good that is provided by the states,” Jorgensen says. “It really is core to our mission—secure identities. Being out front, making sure that the technology is being developed and formed in a way that keeps us in the position that keeps the benefit to our citizens, our customers, that they can trust that the identity is still secure, safe, private, and that relying parties can trust that, it’s very exciting all the positive things that can come from this.”

Check out our videos on mDLs and the Digital Trust Service at:

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