Report details the control Apple has over states & their ID card rollout

What you need to know

  • Apple is allowing people to put ID cards into the Wallet app if they're in a state that has signed up for the feature.
  • A new report highlights the controls Apple has over the process and the states implementing support.

Apple controls various aspects of the digital ID card system, including how states market the feature.

Apple announced that it was going to allow states to give users the chance to put their ID cards into the wallet app with iOS 15 earlier this year, and while the wheels are still in motion, a new report highlights just how much control Apple has in terms of the process, its management, and the states themselves.

According to a new CNBC report, Apple requires that states maintain the systems that are needed to issue the ID credentials as well as hire people for it to contact when it has questions. In fact, Apple even requires that states check with it before using any promotional material for digital ID cards, too. Apple has "sole discretion" over a number of aspects of the program, making it clear it's Apple's effort — and states are only there to help out.

Apple has "sole discretion" for key aspects of the program, including what types of devices will be compatible with the digital IDs, how states are required to report on the performance of the effort, and when the program is launched, according to the documents. Apple even gets to review and approve the marketing that states are required to do.

Georgia and Arizona will offer driver licenses via the Wallet app, although the programs aren't yet live. Documents from Kentucky and Oklahoma were also reviewed by CNBC.

Apple reportedly even requires that states lobby to try to get "federal and state government" agencies onside.

States also have to help spur adoption of the new IDs with "key stakeholders in federal and state government" like the Internal Revenue Service, state and local law enforcement, and businesses that restrict users by age who are "critical to the Program achieving a sufficient level of acceptance."

Also of note is Apple's stance that any issues with the "authenticity of user identities" is the states' issue — Apple just gives them a place to put the cards once they're confirmed to be who they say they are.

Importantly, in its contract, Apple shifts responsibility for confirming the authenticity of user identities onto states: "Apple shall not be liable for any Verification Results, and Agency acknowledges that all Verification Results are provided `AS IS' and without any warranty, express, implied or otherwise, regarding its accuracy or performance."

The full CNBC report is well worth a read for anyone who wants a peek behind the curtain here.

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