South Korean telecoms SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have launched a digital driver’s license service that will serve as an official identity authentication app.
The service will be provided by the three mobile carriers and already has 30 million subscribers for use mostly in mobile financial transactions. The digital driver’s license marks the first case where a digital version of a form of identification is used as a legally acceptable form of identity verification.
The three telecoms worked with the Korean National Police Agency and the Road Traffic Authority (KoRoad), enabling drivers to register their driver’s licenses on the app through a verification and encryption process. Once registered, the user’s photo from their driver’s license along with a QR code and barcode are displayed for use in stores.
The app blocks attempts to register counterfeit driver’s licenses and the three carriers are connected to authentication servers in the Korean National Police Agency’s driver’s license system to prevent fraud or identity theft.
SK Telecom said the Korean National Police Agency would review plans to apply the digital driver’s license service to police work involving identity verification such as a check by traffic police. The three mobile carriers are also in talks with car rental and shared mobility industries to adopt the digital driver’s license to facilitate non-face-to-face services.
“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,” said Oh Se-hyeon, vice president and head of the Blockchain/Authentication Office at SK Telecom.
Starting in July, the digital driver’s license will also be used to reissue and renew driver’s licenses as well as obtain driver’s licenses in English at offices throughout Korea.