Apple digital ID scheme comes with conditions and costs

Technology

Apple’s much promoted digital driver’s licence feature comes at a cost to the taxpayer, according to reports.

Announced in September, it will allow residents in eight US states to store state IDs and driver’s licences inside the Apple Wallet app on their iPhone.

Apple has “sole control” of several aspects of the rollout.

But Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah “bear the burden of maintaining [the feature], at taxpayer expense”.

“The end result is that states bear the burden of maintaining technology systems at taxpayer expense, a move that ultimately benefits Apple and its shareholders by making its devices even more essential than they already are,” said a report by CNBC.

Jason Mikula, a financial technology writer who obtained the Apple records, wrote the states “have ceded a shocking degree of control to Apple”.

“Beyond giving Apple near total control over the programme, states also agree to terms that make it nearly impossible to terminate the programme in the future,” he said.

According to two memoranda of understanding, “the state agencies that have entered into them can only terminate them with Apple’s consent or for cause – if Apple breaches the terms of the agreement and doesn’t remedy within 30 days”.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

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