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Good Government
Driver’s Licenses in the 21st Century

If this continues, perhaps the DMV itself will only day die. Iowa is creating a driver’s license app, which is just what it sounds like, reports the BBC:

The US state of Iowa is developing an application to put residents’ driver’s licences on mobile devices. […]

“We are really moving forward on this,” Governor Terry Branstand said, according to the Des Moines Register.

An initial pilot programme will begin next year, Iowa’s transportation department tells the BBC.

The app could be used at traffic stops and security at Iowa airports.

This will not create some sort of significant revolution, or reshape the DMV, all on its own. But it does mean 21st-century governance keeps getting a little bit closer all the time.

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  • MartyH

    OTOH, do you really want to hand your phone over to a cop with your license and registration? He takes it back to his squad car, thumbs through your contacts, reads your texts, looks at your pictures, etc.

    Ensuring that fourth amendment rights are maintained will be very important in implementation.

    • f1b0nacc1

      It is simple enough to encrypt the sensitive information on your phone, and in fact not doing so these days is likely a poor choice at best. I should point out that most of the better smart phone vendors (Apple, the Android horde, etc.) already provide this as an option, and the various law-enforcement authorities are livid about it, a good suggestion that it actually works. Is it a cure-all, no, but it is a beginning.
      Also, keep in mind that a real license app would likely use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to allow the police to ‘interrogate’ it, which would limit their ability to cause mischief.
      With all of that said, your point that we must protect our rights from abuse by the authorities is an excellent one.

  • Fat_Man

    I am sorry officer, my phone’s battery is exhausted. Can I just email you the License App later?

    • Boritz

      When I launch the app it just opens a dark screen because I haven’t upgraded to IOS x.y.z.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Sure, maybe the Voter ID people will soon push for not allowing anyone without a smartphone to vote. Imagine the possibilities.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Actually, if we provided smartphones to all voters (free of charge), I would be fine with such a suggestion. It would make identity verification (some biometric option comes to mind) quite simple. Most (if not all) supporters of Voter ID do not oppose finding ways of accommodating those without ID due to economic circumstances, the real concern is that we verify and validate that the voter is indeed entitled to vote.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I’d offer to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge, but somebody already sold it to you. Voter ID is about limiting votes from poor people. It is not about fraud prevention.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Once again, proof of your assertion is lacking. You can make those claims from now till the end of time, but you offer no evidence.
          Seriously, if the cost of the ID is not an issue (and as I pointed out before, I have no objection whatsoever with the government providing an ID at no cost to those who ask for one), poor people don’t have any disadvantage, nor are they being discriminated against. Do we just simply take everyone’s word for it?
          A valid ID is required in almost every other country in the world in order to vote, are they all doing this with the express purpose of discriminating against the poor? The Tea Party must be more powerful than I thought!

          • FriendlyGoat

            No one is going to give voters smartphones for free, your original argument. That kind of ridiculous snark is “the evidence” of the motivation from your side.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Really? Smartphones are already heavily discounted and subsidized by phone companies, and the latest Amazon Fire was retailing for only about $10 (less I believe) quite recently. It isn’t difficult at all to imagine a smartphone capable of handling a ‘voter app’ being cheap enough to give away, though I suspect that the real problem would be the cost of a phone contract…oh wait, those are already being subsidized in several urban areas. Technology is making everything cheaper over time…
            For purposes of discussion, lets say that we are talking about a pool of 25 million voters (several times the number you are really discussing) and we could provide the smartphones for $100 each (also far more than it would cost to buy them in bulk…remember, we aren’t talking about a high-end iPhone, but rather something that can support an app or two as well as the usual communications options), that brings us to $2.5 billion, or say $5 billion with the typical government inefficiency. Let’s throw in an additional $500 million annual cost of new phones to account for turnover, etc. (about 10%/year), which also strikes me as high, but I am trying to be conservative in my estimates. Given what the feds waste money on as a regular thing, I don’t really see that this is outrageous or completely impossible.
            Mind you I don’t care for electronic voting in any form, as it is wide open to fraud and abuse, but if we were going to permit such a thing, this would be a not-unreasonable expenditure to permit poor voters to fully participate should they choose to do so. Keep in mind that a simple voter ID card, perhaps with some biometric modifications would end up costing a very small fraction of this figure and would still have the desirable effect of making fraud more difficult (not impossible, perfect isn’t really an option sadly enough) while ensuring that the poor have access to a valid ID.
            Again, you have made an assertion that you don’t support with any factual evidence combined with a few ad-hom attacks thrown in. Care to respond to a reasoned argument with some reasoned replies? If you assert that nobody would support this, or that the costs would be outrageous, offer some numbers to back up your claim. Note that several states already offer free voter IDs (some charge as well, a policy that I do NOT support…I believe that we can agree if you demand voter ID, you must provide some for those without the means to provide their own), and while there have been some glitches in getting everyone an ID who needs one (a few cases of very elderly people, and some others with – oddly enough – extreme conservatives who don’t want any sort of government-sponsored IDs), we have made progress.
            Aside from an unproven assertion of bad faith, and a failure to show that voter IDs actually harm minorities and the poor (note that in GA, for instance, minority voter participation is up over 2010 in the latest election – comparing an off-year congressional election to an off-year congressional election for an apples-to-apples analysis), which gives us a good sample population to work with.

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