SK Telekom, KT, LG U+ launch blockchain identity app for driving license authentication
Today, South Korea’s SK Telekom declared the commercial launch of a blockchain-based digital identity app developed with telecom companies KT and LG U+. Named ‘Pass,’ the app allows verification of the user’s driving license to facilitate authentication for several services.
The identity authentication app has been about since 2018, and the digital driving license feature has been attached in the recent update. Each telecom firm has its Pass app, and a person can only be registered with one of them.
An instance of an application is a person confirming they are of drinking age without sharing personal data like their address. The solution is linked to the National Police Agency’s license verification system and the Korea Highway Traffic Authority. This provides real-time verification of a user’s identity. The app also links to the device identity on which it is installed, thus limiting fraudulent use.
The user requires to show the license photo and the QR code the app shows for authentications when required. Personal information, like birthdate and address, is not disclosed. For privacy, the driving license is encrypted and stored on the user’s mobile device. The mobile phone operators state they store the minimum personal data required to operate the service, and that data cannot be connected with a natural person.
“This is the first time in Korea to provide a nationwide digital driver’s license verification service,” said Lee Tong from SK Telekom in its announcement. “Pass mobile driving license verification service will be rapidly expanded in the future to expand the field of use. And mobile for financial transactions.”
The solution essentially performs the following functions — authenticate the user, the SIM card, the PIN and biometrics, validate certificates, and provide digital signatures by phone numbers. While the initial use case includes driver’s license authentication, the three carriers plan to scale the solution for other authentication services.
Convenience stores and driving tests
An immediate use case has been developed to identify persons at CU and GS25 convenience store chains in South Korea. The aim is to limit the sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors. Utilizing the Pass app, the store employee can scan the barcode presented on the mobile app to confirm if the buyer is of age to purchase liquor. Meantime, Pass will also be utilized at the National Driver’s License Test Center for renewal and license issuance. The citizens will be given the license utilizing the ‘Pass’ app rather than a physical card.
Other digital identity ventures
SK Telekom, KT, and LG U+ have been examining blockchain-based digital identity across the past few years. The three telcos are part of the Initial DID Association, a decentralized identity consortium hosted by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the KISA (Korea Internet & Security Agency). It utilizes the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain. Before the consortium had a name, the trio declared they were working with Samsung, Woori Bank, KEB Hana Bank, and IT company Koscom to build a self-sovereign identity (SSI) app. Meanwhile, SK Telekom has a collaboration with Deutsche Telekom for blockchain digital identity.