South Koreans can now store their driving license on their smartphones

Three telcos have launched a digital driver's license initiative.

SK Telecom

We use our smartphones for pretty much everything these days, so why not add official identification to the mix? That’s what three telcos in South Korea have done, leveraging an existing authentication app to create digital drivers’ licenses that can be used to purchase age-restricted products in convenience stores.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have teamed up with authentication company ATON to integrate the digital driver’s license into the PASS app, which is already being used to verify mobile payments. The Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) is also on board.

From July this year, the digital driver’s license will be used for reissuing and renewing licenses, so in time it will become the norm. In the meantime, however, users can opt in by registering their details on the app, which will form a digital license showing the user’s photo, a QR code and a bar code. Security features include screen capture prevention tech, a constantly-moving animation layer and code resets. Users will only be able to use one smartphone when registering for the service, and blockchain tech will help protect sensitive data.

Right now, the PASS app serves as a useful and convenient wallet alternative — cash and ID wrapped up in a device you’d be carrying anyway. But it’s got a lot of potential for further applications. In a statement, Oh Se-hyeon, vice president and head of blockchain and authentication at SK Telecom, said, “Going forward, we will work closely with diverse institutions and enterprises to promote its use in non-face-to-face services, which have surged since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.”