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Iowa wants to make driver's license apps for smartphones

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Iowa, state of corn fields, soybeans and Slipknot, is working on a huge high-tech project: a driver's license app residents can install on their smartphones. While convenient, it does come with a number of risks, so the state's Department of Transportation will give it features to confirm each license's authenticity and protect its owner's privacy. Hawkeye state's DOT Director Paul Trombino says the app will be protected by a pin number, and a second layer of protection such as facial or fingerprint recognition could be added in the future. Cops, alcohol vendors and the not-so-friendly club bouncers, on the other hand, can check if a license is authentic if its picture rotates to show the owner's profiles.

Iowa, if you weren't aware, already allows drivers to show authorities digital copies of their registration and insurance. This is just the next step for motorists in the state, though they'll still have to wait a while before they can leave their physical licenses at home. The app will first be tested in a pilot program by select state employees within the next six months. If all goes well, Iowans can apply for one sometime in 2015.

This digital license can fully take the place of a traditional one, though anybody who wants to keep using the latter can do so. After all, some people might be worried that showing it to authorities is equivalent to giving them the right to search their phones. Others might see it as just one more thing to deactivate if their devices get stolen. And then there are those old timers, who just can't be bothered to learn how to use "newfangled" gadgets.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

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