The First State: Colorado’s New Foray Into Digital Identity Verification - Identity Review - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank

In 2021, the Colorado State Patrol will begin accepting the Colorado Digital ID™, displayed through the myColorado app, as proof of identity for traffic stops within state lines. While the technology had already been cleared for cannabis and alcohol purchase, the extension represents a landmark development in the contentious intersection between the citizen and law enforcement authorities. Colorado is the first state to authorize this.

It Begins With an Executive Order

On October 30, 2019, Governor Jared Polis authorized Digital ID as a form of legal identification in Colorado via executive order. The state rolled out a pilot between state law enforcement and the Office of Information Technology, a program that initially excluded traditional police—or, as they say in Colorado, peace—officers. After a year of designing a secure solution designed to efficiently transmit data through reporting hardware systems, the technology known as the myColorado portal underwent its first live test in November. It resulted in a 10% reduction in trooper processing time during a given standard traffic stop.

“These days, so many people rely on smartphones for purchases and other transactions every day and leave their wallets at home. Mobile digital identity is the way of the future and our goal is for Colorado to lead the way in convenience and security with the Digital ID,” says Gov. Polis.

Simple Access to a Complex Service

For willing Coloradans, accessing their Digital ID is easy—all it requires is a download of  the myColorado app to one’s smartphone via App Store or Google Play. Vehicle registration and auto insurance cards can likewise be stored in the app’s digital wallet. For a COVID-conscious state with equally conscious state troopers, the convenience of a smartphone is key.

“When we first heard of the Colorado Digital ID, we immediately recognized the benefits it could have in protecting our state troopers. Anything we can do to reduce the length of time spent on the roadside increases safety,” said Colorado State Patrol Col. Matthew Packard. “The global pandemic introduces a whole new dimension of health and safety concerns for both troopers and our residents. Eliminating the need to handle a physical ID while on the road is one way to reduce exposure to the virus.”

The app does not strictly serve Colorado’s roadways. The app also features access to COVID-19 alerts, DMV services, state job opportunities and technical support for the aforementioned.

Next Stop, Expansion

A substantial amount of police officers and sheriffs around the state—20, precisely—have expressed interest in testing the digital ID technology in their unique environments as the program fully adopts in January. But the state is not stopping there; it plans for wide adoption of the technology throughout the state. Already, more than 300 restaurants, bars, businesses and state agencies have joined the myColorado Partner Program and have begun accepting the ID.


Olivia Baker is a Tech Innovation Fellow at Identity Review from Columbia University, where she writes on tech policy and national digital identity technologies.

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