Secure Technology Alliance publishes white paper on mDLs


The Secure Technology Alliance has released a detailed resource to educate those looking to issue and accept mDLs on how they work and their benefits. The resource also discusses challenges, implementation, privacy considerations and other technical aspects of this emerging technology.

“More services are becoming digital to satisfy consumer’s preferences for using smartphones to carry payments cards, membership cards, and other ID cards with sensitive personal information. Digitizing driver’s licenses is a logical next step,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Secure Technology Alliance. “To help stakeholders understand how mDLs will change how identification is managed, this resource will answer essential questions around the standards, features and uses of an mDL; why someone should use or accept an mDL; and how the mDL will meet expectations of trustworthiness.”

This white paper focuses solely on the mDLs being implemented in the United States that comply with the draft ISO/IEC standard 18013-5, and provides:

An introduction to mDLs including the difference between mDLs and traditional physical licenses, the standards being developed, the stakeholders involved, and the processes for issuing and accepting mDLs
An overview of the usage architecture such as provisioning and issuance management, in-person use and trust models
Insight into privacy considerations for mDLs, with a focus on verifiers and mDL readers
A discussion of trust frameworks and considerations for verifier confidence in accepting mDLs
A summary of key challenges and considerations for establishing a robust mDL ecosystem
Short descriptions of 11 possible uses for mDLs for identity verification in a variety of environments

Tom Lockwood, Identity Council Chair and leader for the Alliance’s mDL efforts, noted, “This publication was developed through active collaboration and participation by industry and government members of the Secure Technology Alliance Identity Council and invited industry leaders."  The Identity Council provides leadership and coordination and serves as focal point for the Alliance’s identity and identity-related efforts leveraging embedded chip technology and privacy- and security-enhancing software. Additional information on the Identity Council can be found at

Secure Technology Alliance members and guests involved in the development and review of this white paper included: Aetna, a CVS Health Company; American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA); Burns Engineering; CPI Card Group; Exponent, Inc.; Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS); HID Global; Gemalto, a Thales Company; GET Group NA; ID Technology Partners; IDEMIA; IDentity Check; Intercede; Kantara Initiative; Mastercard; NextgenID; SAFE Identity; SHAZAM; Underwriters Laboratories (UL); U.S. Department of Defense (DoD); Visa; XTec, Inc.


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