News & Resources

Counterfeit ID app removed by Apple

Dec 28, 2011 Karen Umpierre

After two years on the market,'s "License" app has been pulled by Apple following concerns expressed by Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, ABC News reports. In a recent letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Casey explained that the app, which is marketed as a game for users to "create realistic driver's licenses from any state," is not only a threat to convenience stores selling to minors but to national security as well. "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," Casey wrote. He went on to say "Applications shouldn't facilitate law-breaking, which is exactly what this app does. … While markets the app as a fun game, 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." Gary Tsifrin of responded, telling ABC News that his company designed the app with safeguards against improper identity verification in mind. For example, the fakes contain different fonts then the ones used on conventional licenses, as well as low image resolution, the addition of the logo and a laminate that isn't used on current iterations. "It would take a lot more expertise to rejigger the driver's license app [to create a fake license]," Tsifrin told the media outlet. "It would be much easier to start from scratch." However, Casey's misgivings may not be entirely unfounded. According to his statement, many customers who posted feedback on the application's review page stated that the fakes "worked for them," although it wasn't specified in what context. "It's a shame in this case," Tsifrin added, pointing out that the app was innocently designed for children and young adults to have fun with, and that he hasn't heard of any instances in which the technology was used to create counterfeit IDs. IT World points out that this is the second time the DriversEd app has come into question. In April, the Coalition for Secure Driver’s License attempted to contact Apple's vice president of iPhone software, Scott Forstall, about the dangers, but to no avail.