Illinois House advances measure opening door to digital ID


(The Center Square) – It’s now on to the Illinois Senate with a measure that could usher in a new era of digital driver’s licenses and ID cards.

State Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, carried House Bill 4592, an initiative of the Illinois Secretary of State. The measure would allow the Secretary of State to issue digital ID cards and driver’s licenses that can be stored on someone’s smartphone.

State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, asked how to keep such devices secure from unreasonable search and seizure during a traffic stop.

“You hand it to them, say they swipe to another one or you have a text that comes in and supersedes the image, is that a legitimate search,” Keicher asked. “Is that qualified or is that a tainted apple of the tree?”

Buckner said language in the bill addresses that civil libertarian concern.

“The display of a license shall not serve as authorization for law enforcement or any other person to search, view or access any other data in your phone,” Buckner said.

State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, said law enforcement officers have devices allowing them to quickly download content from a phone.

“What is my protection from someone, a rogue police officer wanting to download my photos, accessing my phone,” Caulkins asked. “What is my protection?”

“It would be the same protections that would currently exist under law if an officer somehow got your phone and did not have a search warrant,” Buckner replied.

There are also concerns about if digital ID is ever required, what happens to those who need but don’t have access to the internet. Despite those and other concerns, the measure passed the House unanimously and can now be taken up by the Senate.

With the increased use of digital pay apps and other programs, Buckner said having a digital form of ID will be convenient.

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