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Apple Pulls App for Creating Fake Driver's Licenses Following U.S. Senator's Complaint
The Coalition for a Secure Driver's License today announced that U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania has sent a letter to Apple requesting the removal of a free app that allows users to easily create digital fake IDs from the App Store.
The "License" application by DriversEd.com for Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad allows users to electronically insert any digital photo and the biographic information of their choosing into a template for a driver's license of a state of their choosing. The "License" application contains templates for driver's licenses for all 50 states, many of which are of designs that will be valid for the next several years. The user is then able to send the high quality digital image of the completed template to an email account. From the email attachment, the image can then be printed and laminated, creating a high quality counterfeit driver's license difficult to discern from one that's genuine.Casey reportedly noted in his letter that the ease with which the app allows counterfeit licenses to be produced poses significant risks related to identity theft, underage alcohol and tobacco purchases, and national security.
In his letter, Senator Casey stated that, "I believe this application poses a threat to public safety and national security…it can be used in a way that allows criminals to create a new identity, steal someone else's identity, or permit underage youth to purchase alcohol or tobacco illegally. National security systems depend on the trustworthiness of driver's licenses, yet with a counterfeit license created by the app, a terrorist could bypass identity verification by the Transportation Security Administration, or even apply for a passport."While the app had been available in the App Store for over two years, it appears that Apple has now quickly responded to Casey's letter by removing the app from the App Store. The Coalition for a Secure Driver's License had sent a letter to Apple's Scott Forstall back in April, requesting removal of the application. Apple apparently did not, however, respond to that initial request.
This is not the first time that elected government officials have gotten involved in disputes over App Store applications. Earlier this year, a group of four U.S. senators sent letters to Apple, Google, and Research in Motion requesting removal of several apps that alert users to the locations of sobriety testing checkpoints. Apple took its time responding to the issue, which is considered controversial as some law enforcement agencies support public notification of the locations of such checkpoints. Ultimately, Apple updated its review guidelines to prohibit the use of DUI checkpoint location information except in cases where the information has been made publicly available by law enforcement.