Apple is asking states to pay for iPhone digital ID cards

Apple’s strict requirements for digital ID cards in the Wallet app for the iPhone require states to provide customer support and contribute to costs, the new report said.

Cupertino wants states to maintain the systems needed to distribute digital IDs, hire project managers to respond to Apple’s inquiries and place this feature themselves – all at the expense of taxpayers, revealing leaked contracts.

The secret rules behind Apple’s digital IDs

The new upgrade to Wallet, announced during Apple’s World Developers Conference in June, allows iPhone users to swap physical IDs for brand new digital ones. Apple sells it as an easier, more affordable and safer way to distribute and carry ID cards.

However, to add a digital ID to Wallet, you must live in one of several states that will support this feature. States that support digital IDs must accept a strict list of conditions set by Apple – and commit to helping pay for maintenance and support.

“The 7-page memorandum of agreement … generally portrays Apple as having a high degree of control over government agencies responsible for issuing ID cards,” the report said. CNBC, who received a copy of the contract.

“Apple has ‘sole discretion’ over key aspects of the program, including which types of devices will be compatible with digital IDs, how states are required to report the impact of the effort, and when the program is launched.”

Apple may also review and approve any marketing that the state opts for digital IDs. Confidential contracts look similar to agreements that Apple typically makes with suppliers, the report said. However, in this case, Apple is asking the states to cough.

Support for digital IDs will not be cheap

States must agree to “allocate reasonably sufficient personnel and resources (e.g., staff, project management, and funding) to support the launch of the Program within the timeframe set by Apple,” the documents state.

“If Apple so requests, the Agency will designate one or more project managers who will be responsible for answering Apple’s questions and concerns regarding the Program.” They must also offer a new “proactive” feature.

This includes “explicitly” presenting the digital ID feature “in all public communications related to digital identity credentials,” says Apple, subject, of course, to prior review and approval by Apple.

Apple prohibits states from passing those costs on to users. But users will eventually pay anyway because their tax dollars will fund the implementation.

Apple is silent

That is, therefore, a complete profit for Apple. This not only means that Cupertino will not only have to pay for the introduction of digital IDs, but also makes the iPhone even more irreplaceable for those who choose to take advantage of this feature.

Apple declined to comment on the contracts on request CNBC. States whose treaties CNBC reviewed – Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma and Kentucky – also did not respond to requests for comment. Other states that are in line to add driver’s licenses and state IDs to Wallet include launch partners Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland and Utah. Florida became the ninth state to apply for the program in mid-October.

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Naveen Kumar

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