Driving Innovation: A Conversation with Louisiana's mDL Architect

Episode 332

State of Identity Podcast


Episode 332

Driving Innovation: A Conversation with Louisiana's mDL Architect


Cameron D'Ambrosi, Senior Principal at Liminal


Calvin Fabre, Founder and President


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Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:00:01] Welcome to State of Identity. I’m your host, Cameron D’Ambrosi. Joining me this week is Calvin Fabre, founder and president of Envoc. Calvin, welcome to the podcast.

Calvin Fabre [00:00:10] Glad to be here. Thanks.

Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:00:12] We have an exciting conversation in store for our audience today. Envoc is leading the way in the rollout of real IDs for US consumers. They are the company behind Louisiana’s digital driver’s license, LA Wallet, which was the first in the nation to be deployed. We will dive into the use cases for mobile driver’s licenses, such as age verification and privacy preservation. This is an area of intense interest, particularly in the US, where we don’t have a national framework for how to approach these issues. You guys are pioneers, so thank you for your time and for joining us today.

Calvin Fabre [00:01:27] Yes, I can’t wait to get into the details. We’ve been given a lot of liberty here in Louisiana by the state government. They were intimately involved in the design and the launch in making it legal. We’re happy to share all the use cases here because it only helps increase the offering that we have and people’s understanding of what we’re doing and how we’re protecting their identity.

Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:01:55] For those not familiar with Envoc and LA Wallet, can you explain the relationship between the two and what Envoc’s role is in this ecosystem?

Calvin Fabre [00:02:12] Sure. Envoc responded to a request for proposal to do some PCI compliant point of sale processing. Our state asks for an innovative concept, so we proposed a digital wallet that would include your registration, driver’s license, and vehicle registration. That’s how it got started.

Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:02:59] That’s amazing. Can you tell us more about the privacy principles that you have adopted in designing the LA Wallet platform?

Calvin Fabre [00:12:11] We adopted four principles: purely optional, nothing extra, no copies, and single use. Our goal is to always advocate for purely optional digital credentials that are not mandated. We will never download or present any attributes without explicit approval. We do not keep copies of any data presented in LA Wallet. The data lives at its issuing authority, on your device in an encrypted way, or nowhere. When we present someone’s identity to a relying party, that’s the only time that data is used. We don’t aggregate it, run analysis on it, profile it, or sell it. It’s the resident’s data, and it is a citizen-centric offering that our state gives to the residents.

Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:16:55] How did you approach the challenge of getting relying parties to adopt mobile driver’s licenses?

Calvin Fabre [00:18:53] We made the visual representation of LA Wallet as reliable as possible. It has interactivity where you can prove if it’s a fake, you can make it refresh and go and pull down the latest version. Our secretary of state got on board and said, Hey, you can use LA Wallet to vote, we will understand how to accept it. State police made it part of their cadet training. So now they’re state police. People know how to accept and view and check if an LA wallet is valid or not. We made it part of the responsible vendor programming. So anytime someone wants to be a bartender, a doorman, a retail seller of alcohol, they know how to accept LA Wallet. So right away, we began giving them and empowering them the way to accept and start to even adopt it themselves of using LA Wallet for their businesses.

Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:19:47] Can you speak to the rollout of the Louisiana adult content mandate and how you have seen LA Wallet playing a role for providers in that space to meet this mandate in a privacy-preserving way?

Calvin Fabre [00:19:47] The bill was HB142 proposed by Laurie Schlegel. It’s giving the parents of underage people the ability to sue the content providers if they do not have a way to verify the age of those accessing the content. But the law is very strict about not logging anything. We cannot log who’s going to what website. We only provide to the content provider over 18 or under 18. That’s all we’re giving them, and we’re not even logging it. We did have to scramble when the law went into effect January the first, 2023, as did many of the content providers. We were doing checks about one every 3 seconds for a while. We’ve done over a million of these remote checks using LA Wallet. We adopted the principle of no logging, which means we can’t even know who is responding. We only know that the content provider is challenging a visitor to their content. There’s a lot of this going on right now, and it’s a very hot topic. But our biggest challenge is to maintain those principles and to abide by the law means that we cannot log in who’s going to what website. It’s a citizen-centric offering that our state gives to the residents.

Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:20:30] Do you think that mobile driver’s licenses will become the norm in the future, and what are the benefits that they provide over traditional plastic driver’s licenses?

Calvin Fabre [00:21:29] Yes, I do think that mobile driver’s licenses will become the norm in the future. Plastic licenses are hard to replace, and we tend to forget them at home. But phones are always with us, so LA Wallet is a convenient and practical solution. In addition, LA Wallet is more secure than a traditional plastic license, as it has multiple layers of authentication, including biometric verification and encryption. It’s also more user-friendly, as it can be updated in real-time and can easily integrate with other digital services, such as voting or age verification. Overall, it’s clear that mobile driver’s licenses offer a more secure, convenient, and flexible solution than traditional plastic licenses.

Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:22:35] How do you see LA Wallet evolving in the future, and what are some of the new use cases that you are exploring?

Calvin Fabre [00:23:30] We’re exploring a number of new use cases for LA Wallet, including electronic prescriptions, hunting and fishing licenses, and even COVID-19 vaccination records. We’re also looking at expanding the adoption of LA Wallet to other states, as well as to other countries. In terms of evolution, we are always looking for ways to improve the user experience and the security of LA Wallet. We’re exploring new technologies, such as blockchain and machine learning, to see how they can enhance the features and capabilities of LA Wallet. Ultimately, our goal is to make LA Wallet the most secure, user-friendly, and flexible solution for digital identity and credentialing.

Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:24:36] Thank you so much for joining us today, Calvin, and for sharing insights into LA Wallet and the future of mobile driver’s licenses.

Calvin Fabre [00:24:43] Thank you for having me, Cameron. It’s been a pleasure.

Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:24:50] And that concludes this episode of State of Identity. Thank you, Calvin, for joining us today and sharing your expertise on LA Wallet.

Calvin Fabre [00:24:59] Thank you for having me, Cameron. It was a pleasure to be here.

Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:25:02] And to our listeners, thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to State of Identity on your favorite podcast platform and leave us a review. We’ll see you next time.

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