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    Indiana Court Suspends Revocations of Licenses

    The Associated Press reports that the Indiana Court of Appeals has “granted a preliminary injunction (pdf) staying the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ invalidation of driver’s licenses or identification cards on the sole basis of mismatched [Social Security] records” pending a lawsuit challenging the policy. In November, the state BMV began matching its records with those in a Social Security Administration database. “It checked more than 6 million records and found 206,000 mismatches — some created by typographical errors or people getting married and changing their last names.”

    The ACLU of Indiana filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of 15,332 individuals affected who reject the new policy. The ACLU asserts that neither the state constitution nor its laws allow the BMV’s to invalidate licenses or ID cards solely because of mismatched records. Disclosure: I continue to work with the ACLU, but have not worked with the Indiana affiliate.

    In May, I co-authored a white paper about the national identification debate, REAL ID Implementation Review: Few Benefits, Staggering Costs, which included a discussion of numerous errors in Social Security Administration databases:

    The Social Security Administration’s Inspector General estimated that about 17.8 million records in the [agency’s Numerical Identification File] have discrepancies with name, date of birth or death, or citizenship status. About 13 million of these incorrect records belong to U.S. citizens.

    Federal reviews have found such data “seriously flawed in content and accuracy.” In an October opinion granting a temporary restraining order enjoining the Department of Homeland Security from implementing a new “no-match” employment eligibility verification proposal, the federal judge noted “the government recognizes, the no-match letters are based on SSA records that include numerous errors.”

    There are numerous proposals to use these error-filled databases for more purposes (see my REAL ID report quoted above for more information). If their shortcomings are not taken into account, then individuals will face significant problems in their everyday lives. Without a driver’s license or state ID card, a person will have difficulties opening a bank account, getting on a plane, voting, and more. 

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