At the urging of Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) Apple killed an application for iPhones and iPads that allowed users to pose for and create their own driver's licenses, functionally making fake IDs for underage citizens.
In a letter to Apple on Monday, Casey decried the "Driver's License" app and the ease in which it could make an ID for counterfeiters and those underage. Apple complied with the senator and removed it from its App Store.
“I urged Apple to take the responsible step of removing this dangerous app, and I’m pleased that the app is no longer available in the store,”Casey said in a statement. “As Pennsylvania and states across the country deal with the rising problem of identity theft, tools that facilitate breaking the law should not be available to potential criminals.”
Created by DriversEd.com, an education website that coordinates driver education programs in 18 states—but not in Pennsylvania—the app was described as a "fun glimpse of what it would look like to have a driver's license of your own from any of the fifty states, but a deliberately inaccurate version," according to a statement.
The company defended itself by saying it implemented several security measures to prevent counterfeit licenses—including only producing low-resolution images, neglecting to duplicate any state security features and prominently showing "MOCK by DriversEd.com" on the created image. The program also was displayed in the website's "GameZone," and featured images of a man picking his nose and cat posing to illustrate its light-hearted origins.
DriversEd.com also drew comparisons between its app and a recent Democratic National Committee ad that depicts Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney on a $10,000 bill. Both are produced at 72 dpi to restrict counterfeiting.
Still, Apple CEO Tim Cook immediately acquiesced with Casey's request and removed the app.
Casey drove the point home in his letter:
"While DriversEd.com markets the app as a fun game, it can also 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."
For more information, these webpages provided interesting takes on the story.
ZDNet.com—"With no apparent legal leg to stand on, Senator Bob Casey pressures Apple to remove app"
Akron News Network—"Makers of Fake ID App Defend Themselves"
PC World—"5 Apps Banned from Apple's App Story in 2011"
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