Privacy advocates who have long tried to repeal Georgia’s fingerprint requirement for motorists have found support in the state House’s new GOP majority, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Majority Leader Jerry Keen and Speaker Glenn Richardson are backing a bill that would end the mandate that Georgians be fingerprinted to get a driver’s license. The measure would require the state to destroy all existing fingerprint records. Bill sponsor Rep. Barry Loudermilk cited the security breach at Georgia-based data broker ChoicePoint, which last month said it would notify 145,000 Americans that their personal information was put at risk after the company sold access to its files to bogus businesses. “Identity theft is a bigger problem than someone obtaining a fraudulent license at this point,” he said.
Ronny Johnson of the Department of Motor Vehicle Services said the fingerprint information has helped detect potential license fraud. He said fingerprint records also have been used to identify airplane crash victims and assisted anti-terrorism efforts. Loudermilk’s bill has a diverse group of backers, including the American Civil Liberties Union. “Anytime the government is collecting biometric data about individuals, it’s actually very, very dangerous,” said ACLU lobbyist Maggie Garrett. “It actually makes us less safe because it opens us up to identity theft and all sorts of problems.” Georgia is among eight states and the District of Columbia that use biological identifiers for driver’s licenses.