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The NSW Digital Driver Licence: The Future of Government Services?

The NSW Digital Driver Licence: The Future of Government Services?

The NSW Digital Driver Licence is now available. However, don't throw out your old wallet just yet as there are some serious caveats.

29th October 2019

The NSW government has just taken one bold step to eliminating your wallet. As of today, The NSW digital driver licence is now available. The new license is part of the NSW government’s initiative to digitalise its services. The license is now open to download through the NSW Services App. New South Wales now joins South Australia who rolled out this program two years ago. However, you will still need your plastic licence. Some specific rules and restrictions surround the implementation of the NSW digital license. The state government passed the Road Transport and Other Legislation Amendment (Digital Driver Licences and Photo Cards) Act 2018 to update the regulations. Read on to learn about how the implementation of the digitalisation of the NSW licence may affect you.

How to get your NSW Digital Driver Licence?

To get your digital NSW Driver Licence, all you have to do is add a physical license’s address, licence number, and the number on its back (top left) into the app. There are many different benefits of having a digital driver licence. These benefits include updates in real-time, so you don’t have to wait for a new licnece in the post, offline capabilities, and a pin/facial recognition now protect your licence.

Conditions on the NSW Digital Driver Licence

You can now present your digital driver licence to a NSW police officer and licence checkers just as you would for the plastic card. They will visually check the features or scan the QR code to confirm its validity. Similar conditions exist at bars, hotels, convenience stores, and petrol stations. It’s illegal to access your driver licence while driving, so only present it if asked by the officer. However, don’t think you can use the excuse that you forgot to charge your phone. The licence will not be valid if your phone is dead or if the screen is cracked because the officer must be able to scan the QR code. Furthermore, the license will not be accepted interstate, and it may take a while for the program to roll out across all venues.

What Do Businesses Need To Know About NSW Digital Driver Licence?

There are also some significant changes for venues as NSW Digital Driver Licences across the state. As a venue, you may need to consider implementing strategies to ensure you cooperate with the new measures. One of the most critical new rules will be being able to verify the ID. The NSW government has made available a guide for checking a digital driver licence:

Some of the key features to look for include:

  1. Animated NSW Government logo.
  2. Last refreshed date and time.
  3. QR code expires and reloads.
  4. Waratah hologram moves when phone is tilted.
  5. Watermark matches the licence photo.
  6. Address details (scrolling is not always required to view address)

Implications- Fraud

While it may feel Orwellian, the digital driver’s licence represents the natural evolution of government services. The NSW government estimates that the program could potentially save them millions in printing costs. However, the program raises serious concerns about ID fraud and privacy. For example, will cybercriminals be able to fake digital driver licences for fraudulent purposes?

Implications- Privacy

While the government has ensured the privacy of users, businesses that interact with the digital driver’s licences should consider updating their privacy policy to protect themselves. It will also be interesting to see how the technology will interact with the Identity Matching Services Bill 2019, which aims to share state-based driver licence data with the federal government for security purposes. Many critics have suggested that this bill is too invasive on personal liberties. Therefore, while using a digital driver licence at the pub may sound exciting, there may be some serious privacy implications for the implementation of this program in the future.

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Author
Joshua Cutrone

Josh is a Legal intern at Lawpath. He is a Commerce/Law student at Macquarie University. He has an interest in cyberlaw and blockchain technology.