Digital security expert warns of licence hacking fears

A DIGITAL security expert warns the introduction of digital licences on the Fraser Coast could bring with it a risk of online hacking.

Rohan Genrich, program director of the Bachelor of Information and Technology at the University of Southern Queensland, said while moving online seemed almost inevitable, he had reservations.

He said online systems were vulnerable to hacking from outside entities.

He added he would have concerns about foreign nationals collecting data that would be accessible through such an application.

Mr Genrich said the State Government needed to be ready for the security implications of having a digital record of people's licences.

He said licences could be used to purchase a mobile phone or open a bank account.

"If someone was able to breach the security there are definitely grounds for misuse," Mr Genrich said.

He said he would be hesitant to be an early adopter of the initiative, adding he would prefer to see how secure the system was before jumping on board.

But 16 or 17-year-olds who were just getting their licences would probably be keen to get a digital licence, Mr Genrich said.

While traditional licences will still be issued to every driver, Mr Genrich said there were many obstacles to going fully digital.

These included how elderly people would adapt to the new technology and being able to access one's licence on the phone in areas with little to no reception.

Mr Genrich said he was also interested to see how the spread of fake digital identification would be prevented.

Fraser Coast residents will be able to trial a digital licence from early next year.

People can register their interest in the trial now.

Available through a smartphone app, it will initially include learner licences, recreational marine licences and photo identification cards and could expand to other licences at a later stage.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said security was a key feature of the digital licence program.

"The app will provide even more security and privacy because personal information will be contained behind passwords and biometric smartphone features," he said.

"Unlike a physical driver's licence, the Digital Licence App gives you the control over how much information you allow a third party to see, copy and retain, when you share it with them."



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