Annoying thing about NSW's new digital licences
All NSW drivers will finally be able to get a digital version of their licence on their smartphones following a delayed expansion after a trial of the technology.
The digital permits have already been trialled in Dubbo, Albury and Sydney's eastern suburbs, but are now available statewide.
While the statewide rollout was originally due to take place in August, it was delayed to "late 2019".
That vague time has evidently now arrived after an update to the Services NSW app enabled the digital permits for all last night.
Drivers can now access their digital licence through the Services NSW app on their compatible smartphone, but of course there's a catch.
Those who raced to get their digital licence this morning were met with a Services NSW app that wasn't working.
NSW Shadow Minister for Better Public Services Sophie Cotsis said it was evidence that despite delays, the rollout wasn't ready to go ahead.
"How can it be the case that this is so late and still so clearly not ready? Liberal Minister Victor Dominello was right when he said he was worried about stability. The app keeps crashing," she said, according to The Daily Telegraph.
"I'm not convinced that this is a reliable platform yet. I won't be getting a digital driver's licence until we're all sure the system is stable. You can't blame anyone that waits."
The NSW Department of Customer Service said the rollout hadn't officially begun and that it was "testing the technology for early adopters", despite it being available to everyone and after several trials have already been conducted.
The digital licence contains all the same information as your normal licence, including a waratah hologram, but has the additional benefit of producing a unique QR code that can be scanned to verify its legitimacy, similar to the chip in Queensland driver's licences that provide more information when scanned.
The app will also show when the licence was last refreshed, and can be reloaded to prove its legitimacy.
While the law now requires drivers be able to produce either a digital or traditional card, Services NSW advises those using a digital licence to carry their card still as a backup.
It's also important to be aware of the potential legal dangers of using a digital licence if you do get pulled over by the fuzz, and make sure you don't touch your phone until you're explicitly asked for your licence to avoid potentially copping an additional fine for using your phone while driving.
Services NSW also recommended still taking your card with you if you go out as some venues might not be across the new system yet and could refuse service out of fear of violating their responsible service of alcohol.
It's also important to keep your phone charged and make sure the permit isn't obscured by cracks on your phone screen, as this could interfere with QR scanners and prevent venues or police from verifying the legitimacy of your ID.
NSW is the second state to introduce the digital licence after the South Australian government rolled out a similar initiative beginning in 2017.
But that scheme attracted criticism earlier this year, after it emerged that two years after the introduction, some places still weren't accepting the digital ID.
Queensland will begin trialling a digital licence in the Fraser Coast region later this year.
Australia Post also offers a Digital ID service that is accepted as proof of age at participating licensed venues in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland.
It's also accepted in the territories, but can't be used to purchase takeaway alcohol in the Northern Territory.
While some may be concerned over the safety of their digital licence, Services NSW said it has "built strong partnerships with cyber security and identity theft experts" to protect user data and information with "comprehensive security measures" they say are on par with those used for internet banking.
Theoretically your digital licence should be safer on your device than it is in your wallet thanks to most modern devices' advanced biometric security methods.
The licence remains available even if your device isn't connected to the internet, so long as you remain logged into the Services NSW app on your device.
Earlier this year, a bill was introduced to the House of Representatives that will allow the Department of Home Affairs to access identity information held by state and territory governments, which could be used for a variety of reasons including facial recognition.
That bill is yet to pass in to the Senate.
HOW TO GET YOUR DIGITAL LICENCE
• Download the Services NSW app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store
• Log in with your MyService NSW account (your account needs to be linked to Roads and Maritime Services in order to get your digital licence)
• Follow the prompts in the app to get your digital licence.
Will you be embracing the new digital licence? Let us know what you think in the comments below?