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    Missouri Likely to Become 13th State to Reject REAL ID System

    If Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signs a bill recently passed by the state legislature, Missouri will become the 13th state to prohibit implementation of the REAL ID national identification system and the 23rd state to pass some form of anti-REAL ID legislation. The REAL ID Act of 2005 mandates that state driver’s licenses and ID cards follow federal technical standards and verification procedures issued by the Department of Homeland Security. (For more information on security problems with the system, you can read last month’s post about the future of the REAL ID program and a previous report (pdf) detailing my belief that the REAL ID system creates a fundamentally flawed national ID system and should be repealed.)

    Missouri HB 361 states, “The department of revenue shall not amend procedures for applying for a driver’s license or identification card in order to comply with the goals or standards of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, any rules or regulations promulgated under the authority granted in such act, or any requirements adopted by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators for furtherance of the act.” This is a huge departure for Missouri. Last year, the Department of Homeland Security gave “$17 million to Missouri to lead the development of the verification hub.” Florida, Indiana, Nevada, and Wisconsin “each receive[d] $1.2 million to partner with Missouri for verification hub testing and implementation.”

    “The hub will act as a central router to provide timely, accurate, and cost-effective verification to motor vehicle departments of an applicant’s source documents. States will be able to seamlessly verify the identity, lawful status and social security number of an applicant through this common interface,” DHS said.

    As defined, “verification hub” is just another name for the national database DHS seeks to create by linking the motor vehicle systems of all 56 states and territories. There are 245 million driver’s license and cardholders nationwide, and their personal data would be included in this massive system if the states agree to implement REAL ID. Numerous states have rejected the system, however. (See below for a list.)

    The Missouri legislature’s action comes amid reports that there is “Proposed legislation being circulated on Capitol Hill would give states more time, flexibility and money to meet federal Real ID requirements.” The proposal would “scrap[] the program’s current rules and creat[e] a new rule-making process.”

    Missouri HB 361 also includes language about privacy protection: 

    302.183. 1. Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter that requires an applicant to provide reasonable proof of residence for issuance or renewal of a noncommercial driver’s license, noncommercial instruction permit, or a nondriver’s license, an applicant shall not have his or her privacy rights violated in order to obtain or renew a Missouri noncommercial driver’s license, noncommercial instruction permit, or a nondriver’s license.2. Any data derived from a person’s application shall not be sold for commercial purposes to any other organization or any other state without the express permission of the applicant without a court order; except such information may be shared with a law enforcement agency, judge, prosecuting attorney, or officer of the court, or with another state for the limited purposes set out in section 302.600 or for conducting driver history checks in compliance with the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act, 49 U.S.C. 31309. The state of Missouri shall protect the privacy of its citizens when handling any written, digital, or electronic data, and shall not participate in any standardized identification system using driver’s and nondriver’s license records.

    The other states that have prohibited implementation of the REAL ID system are (from most recent passage to least): 

    1. Virginia
    2. Louisiana
    3. Arizona
    4. Alaska
    5. Idaho
    6. Maine
    7. South Carolina
    8. New Hampshire
    9. Oklahoma
    10. Georgia
    11. Washington
    12. Montana

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