Underage drinking in a serious problem in the United States. There are an estimated 10.8 million underage drinkers and almost 1/3 of all fatal drunk-driving cases involve someone under the age of 21[i]. Having a fake ID has become something of a rite of passage for many teens. A 2019 survey found that nearly 50% of people got their first fake ID before they were 18, and nearly 90% of people faced no legal repercussions whatsoever when their fake ID failed.[ii]. During the first six months of 2020, the Chicago U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly 20,000 counterfeit U.S. driver’s licenses while working at Chicago’s O’Hare airport alone. Many were intended to be used by the underaged for purposes of illegally securing alcohol or tobacco products[iii].
But spotting a fake ID can be a difficult and subjective task. A server or bartender is required to assess characteristics such as the thickness of the ID, the photo quality and the use of official marks and holograms which vary from state to state[iv]. The more expensive and professional the fake, the harder it can be to detect There’s a lot on the line for the server and their employer.
A restaurant or bar that serves alcohol to someone under 21 can face serious penalties — including charges, fines, loss of license and perhaps even jail time. The owner of the restaurant and/or the waitperson who served the alcohol can be held personally accountable. For the establishment, its liquor license may be suspended or permanently revoked, and the business may even be shut down. Anyone who sells or serves alcohol can also be held liable for injuries or damages caused by those who consume it, such as those that result from a drunk driving accident[v].
Going digital can help combat the prevalence of fake IDs, but only if done correctly. There are many aspects of the physical driver’s license (DL) that are easily copied or spoofed and can be replicated on any mobile phone with relative ease. Therefore, a “visual representation” of an mDL cannot be made secure and verifiers won’t be able to trust it. These types of vulnerabilities could severely limit the adoption of mobile driver’s license (mDLs) by most states.
Fortunately, there is a better approach to mobile IDs – one that will make mDLs more secure, tamper-proof, and easier to verify than physical IDs. Therefore, this removes the guesswork for bartenders and waitstaff. This cryptographic proof of ID, makes it a trustworthy, official, government-issued mobile credential that complies with ISO 18013-5. The government Issuer (DMV) e-signs the data and puts it under the control of the mDL holder (the citizen), to be used via electronic transfer. The verifier can confirm the DMV’s eSignature without touching the ID or phone. There is no way to tamper with the data that was e-signed by the issuer, reducing the possibility for fraud.
The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators’ (AAMVA) mDL Implementation Guidelines mandate compliance with ISO 18013-5 for secure mDL interoperability. GET Group North America has actively participated in this ISO standardization effort since its inception. As a result, GET Mobile ID implements the full functionality of ISO 18013-5. By adhering to the ISO standard, verifiers such as restaurants, bars and liquor stores worldwide can authenticate the validity of an mDL and the identity data of the citizen presenting the credential, even if they are not in the issuing jurisdiction.
Mobile ID technology also provides benefits to the ID holder, giving them greater control over their identity information than possible with a physical ID credential. This can ultimately help prevent identity theft and other misuse of their personal information. The mDL holder controls the amount and type of data transferred to verifiers. Licensees can, for example, release only the relevant data to show that they are over 18 or over 21 without sharing other details not pertinent to the sale of alcohol, tobacco and other age-restricted products (such as their home address or license number).
Learn more about how GET Group North America can enable safer and more secure identity transactions that may help prevent ID fraud; click here to schedule a 15-minute demo.