The state of Maryland has shared more details about its Apple-backed digital ID program. Maryland is one of eight states that is currently working with Apple and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to deliver digital IDs that can be stored in the Apple Wallet, joining a list that includes Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Utah.

Once the system is live, residents of Maryland will be able to use their physical ID to generate a digital version that can be accessed through an Apple Watch or an iPhone. To do so, residents will first need to take a picture of their physical card, and then take a selfie. The system will use facial recognition to match the selfie to the image on the photo ID, and will also perform a liveness check (as previously reported) that asks the user to perform a series of face and head movements to prove that they are present for the registration process. The Maryland government will verify and issue the digital ID if everything goes properly.

Maryland is yet to reveal when it will launch the digital ID service, though the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is preparing for the second phase of a Customer Connect IT modernization project in December. The state confirmed that it will start offering Apple Wallet IDs sometime after the completion of that second phase.

When that happens, it will represent the culmination of a lengthy March toward digital identity. The state started working on a mobile ID with a two-year digital ID pilot that kicked off in 2017 with NIST funding, and the Maryland General Assembly would follow that with the passage of House Bill 180 two years later. That 2019 legislation initially gave the MDOT the ability to issue electronic credentials, and it will be exercising that authority with the Apple arrangement.

The digital IDs are being designed with an eye toward privacy, so neither Apple nor the state of Maryland will know when or where people choose to use their IDs. At first, the IDs will only be accepted at select TSA checkpoints, though they will eventually be able to serve as valid proof of identity at other establishments. The Apple Wallet can store credit cards, transit cards, and reward cards in addition to state IDs. Florida is also reportedly trying to work with Apple to deliver a digital ID solution.