New licenses require new information
Colorado drivers must now provide social security number to get license
November 15, 2000
Effective Nov. 1, all applicants for driver’s licenses in Colorado are now required to provide their Social Security Numbers (SSN) in order to receive the license. The SSN will be maintained as part of the driver’s file but does not have to be displayed on the license itself. If an applicant does
not have a SSN, he or she must submit an affidavit to that effect.
The requirement was included in a law (SB 145) passed during the last state legislative session with virtually no public or media attention. State officials say the addition of the SSN on drivers licenses will toughen sanctions against parents who are delinquent in child support payments and authorizes broad measures for collecting those payments. All people applying for new and renewal of drivers licenses are required to be listed, regardless of age or whether or not they have any child support obligation.
Brooke Morton, aid in Sen. Wayne Allard’s Washington D.C. office, said the new law “mirrors a federal law that does the same thing – basically this is a way of dealing with parents who are delinquent on child support payments and this is a way of tracking them.”
“The new drivers license system we have is to prevent forgery of drivers licenses,” Dorothy Dalquist, communications director for the State Department of Revenue said. “This is not meant to spy on people. We’re trying to stop the huge problem of ID fraud and counterfeiting and theft and help citizens and merchants.”
“People have a concern about giving out their Social Security numbers,” Dalquist said. The American public accepted the Farley-Roosevelt Social Security program several decades ago only on a solemn promise that the nine-digit Social Security number would never become a national identity number. All Social Security cards state right across the bottom: “Not for Purposes of Identification.”
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Burton said the SSN now required goes into a national data base that can only be accessed by certain entities.
“The federal Driver Privacy Protection Act and state statutes mandate that information on a driver’s license or on registration documents is not open to the public. Since the SSN becomes part of the driver’s record it cannot be released except to the individual, certain agencies such as insurance companies, or law enforcement agencies,” Don Burton, director of driver licensing for the Colorado Motor Vehicle Business Group, said.
Also incorporated into licenses in different states will be “counterfeit deterrent” features using holograms, magnetic threads and computer chips containing biometric data. Current biometric technologies include digital fingerprints, DNA samples, finger scans, digital photographs, hand geometry, digital signatures, retina scans and voice imprints. According to Burton, Colorado’s new license contains a ghost image of the person’s photograph, a digital fingerprint, and a magnetic stripe.
“It’s a magnetic stripe on the back just like credit cards have that you swipe at the gas pump,” he said. “It only contains the same information that’s on the front of the card – age, name, address, and so on. Liquor stores are now using the cards to verify legal age. We’ve had some inquiries from software manufacturers that want to design software so retail stores can use the new card. The 7 to 11 stores might start using it soon.”
Burton said he understands people’s concerns. “We are very sensitive to the public’s interest in privacy. At the same time, we must comply with the law,” Burton said.
“Colorado had to comply under CRS-42-2-107-3A of the Colorado Revised Statutes,” Ronnie White, field operations manager in the Steamboat Springs driver’s license office, said. “It was part of legislation that originated as federal law. All I know is that I heard that the federal government told the State that we would lose highway funds if this wasn’t passed in Colorado.”
In September of 1996, President Clinton signed into law, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Buried at approximately page 650 of the new national Defense Bill, also known as Public Law 104-208, Part B, Title IV, the American public was given a national ID card. With no fanfare, no publicity and no scrutiny, the bill easily avoided the watchful eyes of even its most aggressive opponents. The US Department of Transportation then moved to establish national requirements for state issued drivers’ licenses, making them national ID cards, effective October 1, 2000.
In 1998, an attempt by the U.S. Congress to eliminate a national ID system from the immigration bill failed by a vote of 159 to 260 in the House. A similar attempt in the Senate failed by a vote of 46 to 54.
The Coalition to Repeal the Fingerprints Law, a Georgia grassroots movement trying to rid their state of the new requirement to give digital fingerprints in order to obtain a state ID or driver’s license, recently discovered the national ID tie. The group found that the national law not only mandates a national ID card, but found how it is to be used.
In Section 401-403, pilot programs have been initiated by the U.S. Attorney General, one of which is the “Machine Readable Document Pilot Program.” In this particular program, employers would have to “procure” a document reader linked to the federal government’s Social Security Administration in order to have the potential employee swipe their new driver’s license/national ID card through the reader. Then, it would be up to the federal government to either approve or disapprove the applicant for employment.
Sections 326 and 327 provide $5,000,000 per year grants to each state participating in any of the three pilot programs. The money has been allocated through the Criminal Alien Tracking Center and is called the Criminal Alien Identification System. The “automated identification system,” which is to be used by “Federal, State, and local law enforcement” and will “provide for recording of fingerprints of aliens previously arrested and removed.” The grants run from “fiscal years 1997 through 2001.”
Additionally, Section 656 of the law states that “after October 1, 2000, federal agencies may only accept as proof of identity driver’s licenses that conform to standards developed by the Secretary of the Treasury,” after consultation with state motor vehicle officials and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. The AAMVA sees digital fingerprinting as the best way to go in identifying driver’s on licenses.
Dianne Feinstein [D-Calif.], author of the national ID law, explained in a Capitol Hill magazine that it was her intention to see Congress immediately implement a national identity system. “I want to see legislation where every American is required to carry a card with a magnetic strip on it which the bearer’s unique voice, retina pattern, or fingerprint is digitally encoded,” she said. Perhaps the most pervasive implication of this new National ID scheme is that in the near future an identification card will be required just to engage in activities we now take for granted.
Under the federal “New Hires Database” system and the related “Employment Eligibility Confirmation System” program, everyone will be required to possess an approved identification document in order to get a job and work in the United States. Also, as a condition of the new and upcoming healthcare-provider requirements everyone will have to submit a conforming identification document in order to receive health care. Otherwise, the healthcare provider will forfeit all federal compensation for their services Medicaid, Medicare. It follows in the logical course of argument that other activities such as banking,
purchasing insurance, writing a check, obtaining a passport, boarding a commercial airliner and the list goes on and on will all likewise require the new ID’s.
Benjamin Franklin discussed the folly of this view when he wrote that “[t]hey that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.”