The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has launched the New York Mobile ID, a highly secure digital version of a state-issued driver license, learner permit, or ID on a smartphone.

The governor’s office explained that the Mobile ID is a voluntary product designed for the convenience and security of New Yorkers and is available to IOS and Android users. The new ID is available for anyone who has a valid, state-issued driver license, learner permit, or non-driver ID. Interested users just need to download the secure Mobile ID app through Google Play or the App Store.

“Everything is on your cell phone these days, and now, your ID can be too. This is an exciting way to provide identification without having to dig through your wallet or purse to find your physical document,” DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said. “Rather than handing over your physical ID with lots of personal information, the Mobile ID gives you greater control over what personal data you share.”

In addition to being approved for use by the DMV, New York State has partnered with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to ensure that the New York Mobile ID (MiD) will be accepted at TSA security checkpoints at nearly 30 participating airports across the country including all terminals at LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports. The governor’s office noted that this will allow New Yorkers to verify their identity easily and securely for airport security screening.

In order to get a New York Mobile ID, New Yorkers need to download the New York MiD app from the App Store or through Google Play. Then, they need to register the phone number of the device the Mobile ID will be on. The governor’s office noted that an individual’s Mobile ID can only be on one device at a time to help protect their identity. Then, users take a picture of the front and back of their physical ID (driver license, non-driver ID, or Learner Permit), using their phone’s camera. Finally, users need to take a selfie. The app checks your photo and ID against information on file with the DMV to ensure a user is who they say they are.

State leaders said the New York MiD serves as a companion to a physical ID, and not all businesses or stakeholders will initially accept mobile IDs, so New Yorkers should always continue to carry their physical driver’s license or ID.

Addressing safety and privacy concerns, state leaders said the New York Mobile ID is a highly secure method for verifying identity. Saying the ID protects personal information and privacy. For the highest level of privacy and security, the New York MiD is not designed to look like a picture of a New York driver license, learner permit, or non-driver ID on a smartphone, and is not designed to be shown or handed to a verifier to obtain credential information visually.

State leaders noted that personal information found on the MiD is encrypted and only accessible when the Mobile ID holder consents to sharing it. It is transmitted to a verifier through a secure, digital connection so the user never has to hand over their phone. The user also controls what data to share.

For example, when using a Mobile ID, wherever it is accepted, to make an age-restricted purchase such as buying tobacco or alcohol, a Mobile ID holder can prove their age without sharing any other unnecessary information like their name, height, or address.

The MiD app can only be unlocked through Face ID, TouchID, or a six-digit PIN. Information about usage including where, when, and what personal information the user has shared is encrypted and stored only on their personal device. The New York Mobile ID does not store or transmit data on when and where it is used.

The New York Mobile ID also allows the DMV to push updates to the app when information is updated directly with the DMV such as an address change or change to someone’s driving status.

Read More About
Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs