An application that allowed users to create a fake driver’s license got pulled from the iTunes App Store today after Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, urging him to deal with the situation.
In his letter, the US Senator explained that DriversEd
’s app posed a real threat as it provided all the necessary tools to create an official-looking drivers license, use their own picture, and print it out.
From there, all the users had to do was laminate it and the end product could pass as a genuine drivers license. In the hands of a teenager, the potentially nefarious activities are endless.
In his letter, Senator Casey stated that, "I believe this application poses a threat to public safety and national security…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.”
“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."
The President of the Coalition for Secure Driver's License, Brian Zimmer, agreed. In fact, he said, "I applaud Senator Casey's efforts. Apple has a responsibility to its users to ensure that its technology does not facilitate crime.”
“Counterfeit driver's licenses are not novelties,” he continued. “They present a very real risk to public safety and national security. Apple should have had measures in place to prevent the 'License' application from ever making it to the App Store.”
Mr. Zimmer also revealed that he had contacted Apple about this app in spring. On April 4, 2011, Zimmer sent a letter to Apple’s Senior Vice President of iOS Software, Scott Forstall.
In the letter, he expressed deep concerns regarding the various uses of a counterfeit driver's license, including obtaining a U.S. Passport.
“Apple Corporation's lack of action to pull this application when I first notified them in April, 2011, of its risk to public safety was dismaying,” said Mr. Zimmer. “Apple should establish a careful policy of reviewing applications for the App Store that might lead to a child's injury through inappropriate use. The License App presents a clear risk to public safety."
It is very likely that Scott Forstall’s failure to address this matter in good time will not go unnoticed by the media.