The website that makes a "fake ID" app pulled from Apple's App Store on Monday under political pressure has asked the company to reconsider, arguing the drivers' licenses that can be created clearly are bogus.
Apple removed the DriversEd.com "Driver License" app from the App Store at the request of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. The Pennsylvania Democrat argued in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook that the app made it easy for users to create false identifications, which he said represented "a threat to public safety and national security" because the cards could be used by minors to purchase alcohol and by terrorists to take away our freedoms.
The free Driver License app had been available on the App Store for two years, with no incidents of terrorist-related mayhem being attributed to it on the public record. But at least we know its removal from the App Store will end the scourge of underage drinking.
If it seems as if I'm making light of Casey's concerns, I am. That's because, as DriversEd.com points out in a press release (quoted below), the "licenses" that users can create with the app are so low-resolution, among other things, they couldn't possibly be mistaken for real IDs.
The DriversEd.com “Driver License” app’s output is only 72 dpi, which is in fact the same resolution as the $10,000 Mitt Romney Bill released by the Democratic National Committee.
News flash: Underage drinkers across nation flood liquor stores with counterfeit $10,000 bills, demand change in store credit and magic underwear!
DriversEd.com specifically and deliberately designed the app to prevent the creation of counterfeit identification. “By design, it would take more effort and expertise to modify the product of the DriversEd.com ‘Driver License’ app than to construct a counterfeit from scratch,” says Founder and Chief Operating Officer Gary Tsifrin.
The app is a digital-age version of using a photo booth at the beach. The product of using the DriversEd.com “Driver License” app cannot be mistaken for a fake ID because the design elements deliberately do not correspond to government issued ID.
In other words, it wouldn't even fool your average TSA worker.
DriversEd.com designed the app to incorporate obvious layout differences, font and color discrepancies, and the words “MOCK by DriversEd.com” in proximity to the word “license.”
Well, there's their mistake. The false licenses also should have included the words, "Not to be used by terrorists."
I don't blame DriversEd.com for pushing back on this, but it's not going to help because it'll much easier for Apple to stick with its decision than reverse it and end up being the topic of a presidential debate.
I wrote on Tuesday that the terrorist concern was ridiculous, but that college students may well have been using the app to create fake IDs. But I hadn't seen any of the "drivers' licenses" at the time, so I had no idea what they looked like. You have to wonder if Casey -- who, just coincidentally, is up for re-election next year -- or anyone on his staff has ever seen them, either.
And I have to believe that if Steve Jobs were alive, he would have told Casey to take a hike. He didn't suffer fools gladly.