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Maryland became the first state to offer digital licenses through Google Wallet

Maryland now has mobile identification on two major mobile operating systems, thanks to Gov. Moore’s administration.

An image of aMaryland ID and the Google Wallet logo. (Image by Alanah NIchole Davis, made in Canva)

As of this month, Maryland residents have a unique asset that lets them pull their licenses out less often.

That option is the Maryland Mobile ID in Google Wallet, which Gov. Wes Moore said puts Maryland ahead of the curve in digital innovation and access.

“Maryland is leading the way in creating a more competitive and innovative digital environment while prioritizing accessibility and customer service,” he said in an announcement. “Maryland Mobile ID advances our administration’s work to deliver safe and secure services that benefit all Marylanders.”

“Maryland has taken a pioneering step by becoming the first state in the nation to offer digital licenses and IDs through Google Wallet, enabling users to easily and securely verify their identity for airport security screening,” said Chrissy Nizer, administrator at the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

“If someone is trying to navigate the process independently and encounters any barriers, our call center is available to provide guidance and support. This is an invaluable resource for individuals who don’t have internet access,” Nizer added, noting the availability of FAQs and informational videos for those looking to adopt the Maryland Mobile ID. While a specific one for Google Wallet will be live soon, according to Nizer, Google has already produced a video instructing how to add state IDs and driver’s licenses to its digital wallet more generally.

In addition, the Maryland Department of Transportation created a video for adding this ID to Apple Wallet last year:

 

The Motor Vehicle Administration is the sole issuer of Maryland Mobile ID, both in Google Wallet and Apple Wallet, making these digital IDs the only authorized forms of identification. The IDs stored in these wallets are securely encrypted, ensuring that personal identification information remains inaccessible to anyone unless explicitly shared by the user with their consent.

“Most folks don’t know, but whenever you hand over your physical license, the recipient gains access to all your data. The beauty of a mobile driver’s license or ID is that it limits the transmitted data to only what is necessary for the specific transaction,” Nizer said. “You have to double click to indicate your consent for data exchange, ensuring that the control remains completely in Marylanders’ hands.”

According to the MVA website, if your iPhone or Apple Watch is misplaced or lost, you can manage your driver’s license or state ID in Apple Wallet with the Find My function.

“From any browser, log in to your iCloud account to delete your ID, pause it and even reactivate it once your device is recovered,” Nizer explained.

In a statement, Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld emphasized the pivotal role of innovation and technology in transit.

“Innovation and technology are essential for building a transportation system that’s more equitable, accessible and safe for all Marylanders,” he said. “Maryland Mobile ID is a tool that empowers our customers with greater convenience.”

The launch of Maryland Mobile ID in Google Wallet aims to establish the state as a trailblazer in the digital realm while providing residents with convenient and secure digital licenses and IDs.  It’s not the only transit-related development that Gov. Moore has pursued, though: Last week, the governor and Secretary Wiedefeld joined other officials to resurrect plans for the Red Line, an east-west rail transit system controversially scrapped by ex-Gov. Larry Hogan in 2015.

Companies: Google / State of Maryland

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