During the 2015 NSW election campaign Premier Mike Baird promised his government would introduce digital licences within four years if it was returned to office.
Today, Dominic Perrottet MP, the NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property announced the government is moving forward with the implementation of digital licences, starting with the Recreational Fishing Fee, Responsible Service of Alcohol, and Responsible Conduct of Gambling Competency Cards, from mid-2016.
Other digital licenses will be progressively introduced, with a further five common licence types expected to be rolled out by early 2017, and digital driver licences available by the end of 2018.
The timeline is not surprising, considering the NSW government has its work cut out to ensure a digital licence issued in NSW will be recognised not just in other States and Territories, but also overseas.
In order for a digital driver licence to work for NSW, all State and Territory law enforcement agencies, and organisations that rely on licences for identity checks, such as banks and telecommunications companies, will need to be able to verify that a licence stored on a smartphone is valid.
Delaware and Iowa in the United States are also currently looking at digital licensing technologies.
A serious additional hurdle will be the security of digital licences, as digital driver licences will no doubt be of great interest to identity thieves.
“The Digital Licence will also have security safeguards built in, with authorities able to more easily verify the validity of these licences.”
The technology is not only about reducing the thickness of our wallets by storing and displaying licences on mobile devices, but also about streamlining licence applications, updates and renewals using a smartphone, with real-time licensing information also available.
Those who are not yet ready to make the leap to digital, will be able to retain their plastic cards for now.