Yesterday, we reported about a drivers license-making app that was yanked from Apple's App Store due to a stern letter written by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). Casey echoed the concerns previously stated by D. Brian Zimmer, president of Coalition for a Secure Drivers License, and warned Apple that the app called Drivers License, developed by the company DriversEd.com, could be used for illegal activities ranging from under-age purchasing of alcohol to aiding terrorism. Apple had ignored Zimmer's complaint but didn't so much like the heat from Casey's letter and pulled the app from their store shortly thereafter.
It's worth remembering that this app was available for over two years before Apple nixed the app from their store earlier this week. Not exactly classy or consistent, but it's their store and they can do what they want to.
Today, DriversEd.com founder and COO Gary Tsifrin had some terse words about the app's removal and has provided a pretty convincing beginners guide to dpi (dots per inch, which is a measurement of quality among printers) to Apple and Senator Casey.
Tsifrin dismissed the concerns of Casey and Zimmer as unfounded and over-zealous, remarking that "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." He continued his defense of the app, saying that their intentions were far from encouraging a new cottage industry of fake drivers licenses because the app deliberately included license designs that "do not correspond to government-issued IDs."
In a statement released in response to the app's removal, DriversEd.com explained:
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 today by the Democratic National Committee. DriversEd.com specifically and deliberately designed the app to prevent the creation of counterfeit identification.
Good point. If the fake drivers licenses are so believable, according to Senator Casey and Apple's understanding of dpi, then nobody should notice tonight when I use my Romney cash to pay for everybody's dinner. Neat!
The press release goes into further detail about the design functions purposely set in place to prevent any of the IDs from being passed off as the real thing:
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. 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.” The DriversEd.com “Driver License” app contains none of the security features of a modern government issued ID. (For the security features modern driver's licenses contain and a brief, non-comprehensive inventory of the ways the DriversEd.com app did not incorporate those features, please see the fact sheet on DriversEd.com.) The app was carefully designed to provide 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. That's why DriversEd.com offered it for free, and marketed it in the “Game Zone” on the DriversEd.com site.
I suppose it's understandable that Zimmer or Senator Casey wouldn't bother to check the picture quality specs of the images produced by Drivers License - it's not exactly their area of expertise. But Apple? Apple. C'mon, Apple. You're supposed to check these things! You shouldn't be getting schooled this easily.
But as far as Apple is concerned, Tsifrin remained magnanimous despite believing that "Apple pulled the app prematurely." He hopes that the app will be considered for re-inclusion in the App Store.