S. Korea starts smartphone identification service for digital driver's license

24, Jun. 2020

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SEOUL, AJU - With the real-life introduction of a mobile identification service, South Koreans no longer have to show their driving license in the form of plastic cards to identify themselves. The digital driver's license can be used for verification in various cases such as on-road police inspections.

South Korea opened the door for the mobile identification service in September last year when the Ministry of Science and ICT lifted regulations through a regulatory sandbox. A regulatory sandbox exempts regulations on new products or services for a certain period of time so that companies can develop and demonstrate new technologies.

Through the regulatory sandbox, the country's top three major mobile carriers -- SK Telecom (SKT), KT, LGU+ -- have agreed with police to develop and commercialize the mobile driver's license verification service based on digital barcodes provided by a joint authentication app. Encrypted personal information is stored only in safety areas inside smartphones, with distributed principals adopted to operate only the minimum encrypted data.

PASS, a personal smartphone authentication app, began the digital identification service for mobile driver's license. The digital driver's license can be used at convenience and other stores to verify the age of owners.

The digital driver's license can be registered through the simple step of uploading photographed images of a driver's license and an authentication process. It only reveals a QR code, a square-shaped digital barcode, on the display of a smartphone along with the photograph of its owner without exposing other sensitive personal information.

Drivers can also use the digital version of their plastic identification card as an authentication device at driving license test centers.

Encrypted digital authentication methods are widely researched in South Korea. In early June, the southern port city of Busan unveiled plans to demonstrate a decentralized identification service that allows users to manage personal information without an identity document such as identification cards.