The new federal intelligence law orders states to stop putting Social Security numbers on licenses, says Scripps-Howard News Service. What data will be included on licenses and how it will be used in federal databanks is not clear. The legislation only requires the data to be “machine readable,” leaving the issue of what data to collect to the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security. “There’s a problem,” said Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. “There are two directions they can go here. One is to reduce the likelihood of fraud and counterfeiting of driver’s licenses, which we all would applaud. Or they could link this all together in a new national database, which is what they should not do.”
James Plummer of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse notes that all but one of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 had valid U.S. identification -including driver’s licenses – and that the changes Congress has ordered wouldn’t prevent terrorists from obtaining the new and more secure documents. “This is a bunch of troubling language,” said Plummer. “I don’t think this solves the issue at all.” Plummer is concerned that the measure for the first time sets federal standards on documents like birth certificates and driver’s licenses that traditionally are issues for states to decide.