Apple removes app from App Store that made driver IDs

A free app from Apple's iOS App Store that let folks create realistic looking but fake driver licenses has now been removed from the download store. As reported by MacRumors.com, the app had been available to download from the App Store for the past two years. However, Apple has now taken it down following a request by US Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

The app itself was created by DriversEd.com, an online resource to help people obtain real driver licenses in the US. The free Drivers License App was supposed to be a fun app that would let people create "crazy" looking licenses but with realistic looking layouts for the IDs. People could use the app to change any and all personal information and insert whatever image they wanted in the ID. The app's description added, "When you're done, just email your licenses or send them to Facebook for easy sharing!"

While the obvious intent was to let anyone create some fun looking driver IDs, that was lost on both Senator Casey as well as the group The Coalition for a Secure Driver's License.  In April the president of that organization, D. Brian Zimmer, sent Apple a letter expressing his "grave concern" over the LicenseEd.com app, saying, "There is no reason for anyone to use the application except to create a driver’s license to be used as an identity document that misrepresents biographical information about the possessor."

That letter didn't have the desired effect so today the organization revealed that Senator Casey sent his own letter to Apple requesting that the drivers license app be taken down. Senator Casey's letter said:

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.

Senator Casey's letter apparently got Apple to finally remove the app from the App Store. So far DriversEd.com has not issued a statement on this matter.

Image via DriversEd.com

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39 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

All the more reason to suspect foul play. This app has been on the App. store for 2 years. Anybody that wanted to get it (use it) has already downloaded it. The fact that they remove it NOW I think proves my point. The fact is, this app. did make it past Apple's "quality" control at some point. For 2 years Apple was fine with it UNTIL some boob from the government decided they wanted some publicity and wrote them and at the drop of a ruby they remove it. Why? They don't have to legally comply with requests for this particular app since it is not illegal. If I had called in to request it being removed they would have done diddly-squat.

Any officer that falls for fake IDs on a *phone* may want to consider a change in careers.

And while we're at it, same goes for this senator thinking this to be a criminal threat.

Denis W said,
Any officer that falls for fake IDs on a *phone* may want to consider a change in careers.

And while we're at it, same goes for this senator thinking this to be a criminal threat.

Umm.. maybe you haven't noticed the entrance exam for police officers..

A "high" IQ or good common sense isn't listed.. Police hire on to be police for one reason.. they get to carry AMMO!.. Everything else is just red tape and paperwork.. If they can shoot somebody, it's all good!

As for the senator comment, we don't want to start giving terrorists IDEAS, they have enough of their own.. I agree it is a "phone" not exactly an "official" document, but that will NOT stop people from trying to use it..

Denis W said,
Any officer that falls for fake IDs on a *phone* may want to consider a change in careers.

And while we're at it, same goes for this senator thinking this to be a criminal threat.

Umm.. maybe you haven't noticed the entrance exam for police officers..

A "high" IQ or good common sense isn't listed.. Police hire on to be police for one reason.. they get to carry AMMO!.. Everything else is just red tape and paperwork.. If they can shoot somebody, it's all good!

Having a good friend that became a police officer recently, I would call your analysis of police a bit insulting. Also adding that from what I heard, the whole process of getting hired as an officer is quite gruesome.

This is exactly why I have thrown my iPhone in the garbage.....I got tired of the control over what you can have and what you cannot. They also answer to carriers that sell their phones as well as shareholders and government. They also remove every app that would be in direct competition with a service one of their carriers have.

Are you completely daft? They removed the application because a friggin' senator asked for it.

Oh wait, you didn't actually read the entire article at all. Oh well, I guess I should come to expect that online.

MiukuMac said,
Are you completely daft? They removed the application because a friggin' senator asked for it.

Oh wait, you didn't actually read the entire article at all. Oh well, I guess I should come to expect that online.

are YOU 'daft'? who cares what a senator asked, he has no legal power period.

MiukuMac said,
Are you completely daft? They removed the application because a friggin' senator asked for it.

Oh wait, you didn't actually read the entire article at all. Oh well, I guess I should come to expect that online.

Did you read the part where I said Apple answers to government? There is absolutely no legal reason why Apple should remove this app. If there was they would have removed it long ago. Once again they are blowing smoke up politicians' arses in exchange for appraisal.

vladmphoto said,
This is exactly why I have thrown my iPhone in the garbage.....I got tired of the control over what you can have and what you cannot. They also answer to carriers that sell their phones as well as shareholders and government. They also remove every app that would be in direct competition with a service one of their carriers have.

I don't know who's making a bigger mountain out of a mole hill - you or the senator. Did you manage to find/buy a smartphone from a company that doesn't answer to shareholders, carriers or governments?

vladmphoto said,
This is exactly why I have thrown my iPhone in the garbage.....I got tired of the control over what you can have and what you cannot. They also answer to carriers that sell their phones as well as shareholders and government. They also remove every app that would be in direct competition with a service one of their carriers have.

I agree with Apple and their control.. I also agree that Apple is in conflict with what apps they approve and ones they don't.. maybe this app DID have Senator influence, maybe it didn't.. maybe they SAID a Senator requested it.. and it's not true. Easier to deflect blame that way.

Completely agree with iPhone in the garbage principle.. I HATE being told how to use MY phone and not let me do things *I* WANT.

I was furious when I read the title of this article - I thought they'd banned an app that made device driver IDs or something, like for a webcam or ethernet device... =/

CMG_90 said,
Good thing this was removed. Clearly none of you are from america or know that its bad to create fake IDs

*scratches head* read my comments above

CMG_90 said,
Good thing this was removed. Clearly none of you are from america or know that its bad to create fake IDs

For your comment to make any sense, it must be assumed that a picture of a drivers license on a phone screen, or a jpg of it on facebook, or a printout on a piece of paper is somehow going to be accepted as proof of ID ANYWHERE. It isn't, therefore your comment (as well as the banning of the app) is pointless.

- i can't give you the beer, are you underage?
- oh no sir, look at this image in my iphone
- sorry mister here is your booze

fehu said,
- i can't give you the beer, are you underage?
- oh no sir, look at this image in my iphone
- sorry mister here is your booze

I would think those middle eastern clerks would have more brains then a high school drop out still living with his mom to know what forms of ID are acceptable.

CMG_90 said,

I would think those middle eastern clerks would have more brains then a high school drop out still living with his mom to know what forms of ID are acceptable.

doesn't matter, in Pennsylvania you have to swipe your dirvers license in a card reader to buy beer in a store, this wouldn't reproduce that at all

App allows you to make fake drivers licenses. People create fake IDs. App gets removed.

I see nothing wrong with this.

Then there shouldn't be any pictures of money on the Internet to look either lest someone be fooled into accepting the fake money as payment.

Lexcyn said,
App allows you to make fake drivers licenses. People create fake IDs. App gets removed.

I see nothing wrong with this.

the app doesn't put it onto a plasic card with a card reader strip and encode that strip, it doesn't put a holographic cover over the card...

Lexcyn said,
App allows you to make fake drivers licenses. People create fake IDs. App gets removed.

I see nothing wrong with this.

yeah, ignoring the fact that driving licenses don't tend to have kittens on them and this senator bloke has suffered a sense of humour bypass.

smooth_criminal1990 said,

yeah, ignoring the fact that driving licenses don't tend to have kittens on them

People could use the app to change any and all personal information and insert whatever image they wanted in the ID.

Moreover these IDs could be printed and laminated.

Of course it doesn't make real IDs, but they could be used to fool others. Is anyone actually mourning the loss of this app anyway?

Hmm... I can see their point. I suppose the authors of the app should have put in a watermark or something to make it clear that it was not intended to be used as real ID.

Edit: kind of like how pretend/joke currency (such as Canadian Tire money) says "This bill is not legal currency" (or something like that).

whitebread said,
Hmm... I can see their point. I suppose the authors of the app should have put in a watermark or something to make it clear that it was not intended to be used as real ID.

Edit: kind of like how pretend/joke currency (such as Canadian Tire money) says "This bill is not legal currency" (or something like that).

You mean like all of the watermarks that exist on a real license that this app cannot possibly fake. Good luck printing out any of the holographic info on my license with your iPhone app.

I have lived and been licensed in three states, and they have all had holograms to prevent fraud...and I am certain no one was able to fake them without this app. /s

whitebread said,
Hmm... I can see their point. I suppose the authors of the app should have put in a watermark or something to make it clear that it was not intended to be used as real ID.

Edit: kind of like how pretend/joke currency (such as Canadian Tire money) says "This bill is not legal currency" (or something like that).

then that sort of defeats the so called "purpose" of this app.

schubb2003 said,

You mean like all of the watermarks that exist on a real license that this app cannot possibly fake. Good luck printing out any of the holographic info on my license with your iPhone app.

I have lived and been licensed in three states, and they have all had holograms to prevent fraud...and I am certain no one was able to fake them without this app. /s

Pennsylvania has the holographic cover also, defaintly very hard to duplicate as it changes picture depending on the angle, one andle lists all the county names in PA the other angle shows the state symbol (the keystone)

schubb2003 said,

You mean like all of the watermarks that exist on a real license that this app cannot possibly fake. Good luck printing out any of the holographic info on my license with your iPhone app.

I have lived and been licensed in three states, and they have all had holograms to prevent fraud...and I am certain no one was able to fake them without this app. /s

you're printing it wrong