A digital driver's license could be coming to Android
March 7, 2019
For all the friction mobile technology has removed from our lives, government ID has seemed immune to advancement. Getting a new passport takes weeks, reissuing birth certificates is a pain, and the DMV is as universally hated as Windows Vista.
Finally, it seems state governments are investing in digital identity. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, an organization that works with the DMV on policy surrounding licenses, reports roughly a dozen states have piloted digital driver's license programs. Louisiana, for example, has the LA Wallet app, which as allows residents to drive and purchase alcohol using the app in lieu of a physical driver's license.
There are, however, serious hurdles ahead for digital licensing programs. How do you safeguard against fraud with digital identification? How do you ensure users can access their IDs if a phone dies?
Google, it seems, has a solution.
It was recently reported the company is working on an IdentityCredential API that would let users securely verify their identity via an Android app—even if their phone doesn't have enough power to fully boot.
Shawn Wilden, a team lead on Android, confirmed the original report and offered additional context. First, he addressed the concerns of privacy advocates, saying “The intention is to structure the (authentication) flow so that (an) officer cannot usefully take your phone.” If your phone is confiscated, it will enter “Lockdown mode,” which Wilden says, “means that fingerprint authentication won’t unlock it, and a password is required. This is specifically to force invocation of the fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination.”
Wilden also spoke to the future of the project, saying, “Passports are also very much in scope for this work... Driving licenses are the starting point, but the protocols and infrastructure are being carefully designed to support a wide range of identity credentials, specifically including passports. Of course, we’ll need to convince ICAO to adopt the approach, but I think that’s very likely.”
If Google can create a usable standard for digital identity in America, it could be both a massive boon for the tech giant and the beginnings of a new niche in the American tech market.
Why Naval Ravikant hires artists
There are many schools of thought when it comes to evaluating technical talent. Whether a company uses algorithmic problems, take-home projects, timed tests, or some combination of the three, it's hard to prescribe a one-size-fits-all process for analyzing the potential and ability of a candidate.
One heuristic, however, that AngelList Founder Naval Ravikant has found to be a powerful signal of technical talent is a candidate's artistry. As Naval says, “The best people in any industry on the planet—whether they're building rockets or electric cars—are artists.”
Elaborating on his stance, Naval shared the importance of artistry, skill-based hiring, and properly aligning incentives.
On why artists are so valuable to a team
“By artists, I don't mean someone who picks up a paintbrush. I mean someone who's doing it for its own sake, who loves the craft...Really great developers very often will code for the sheer joy of it, or to solve a very specific problem that they have.”