Apple is making U.S. states foot part of the bill and provide customer support for its plan to turn iPhones into digital identification cards, according to confidential documents obtained by CNBC.
The company requires states to maintain the systems needed to issue and service credentials, hire project managers to respond to Apple inquiries, prominently market the new feature and push for its adoption with other government agencies, all at taxpayer expense, according to contracts signed by four states.
Apple announced in June that its users could soon store state-issued identification cards in the iPhone’s Wallet app, billing it as a more secure and convenient way for customers to provide credentials in a variety of in-person and remote settings. The feature, when combined with Apple’s biometric security measures like Face ID, could cut down on fraud.
But the move has brought questions from industry observers about why local authorities are ceding control of citizens’ identities to a $2.46 trillion private corporation. Beyond that, the integration of identity into powerful mobile devices has drawn concern from privacy experts about the risk of dystopian scenarios involving surveillance.
The contracts between Cupertino, California-based Apple and states including Georgia, Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma provide a rare glimpse into the dealings of the powerful company.