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New Oklahoma Driver’s License Issuing Procedure Sparks Privacy Concerns

The new driver’s license in Oklahoma has raised some serious concerns about privacy in the state. According to Morpho Trust USA, the company responsible for upgrading Oklahoma’s driver’s license issuing system, the new license will meet rigorous security requirements and will help achieve the state’s goal of “one person, one ID,” despite the fact that …

The new driver’s license in Oklahoma has raised some serious concerns about privacy in the state. According to Morpho Trust USA, the company responsible for upgrading Oklahoma’s driver’s license issuing system, the new license will meet rigorous security requirements and will help achieve the state’s goal of “one person, one ID,” despite the fact that Oklahoma prohibited implementation of the Real ID Act in 2008. The Real ID Act, passed in 2005, established federal guidelines using international standards for state ID documents and driver’s licenses. According to the Act, Real ID licenses will be machine readable and will contain biometric data, including facial biometrics. According to the Act, this and other information will be shared nationally and internationally. What is alarming is that this information will be entered into a database for future use, effectively compiling data on people who have never committed a criminal act.

Collecting Information on Oklahomans

While the Department of Public Safety says the security features are the same for the new Oklahoma license, many Oklahomans are concerned about DPS gaining the ability to collect biometric data, which can be used in the identification of individuals based on their characteristics or traits. Biometric authentication can also be used to identify individuals in groups that are under surveillance. “There’s instances where they can release that data for usage,” said Seth Rott, former legislative aide to Senator Randy Brogdon, who helped lead the state’s efforts in opting out of the Real ID Act. “So it’s not just used exclusively for driver’s licensing.” Rott believes that, as more Oklahomans are issued the new driver’s license, DPS needs to be more transparent about where exactly this information is going.

Data Will Be Entered into International Database

One example of biometric data being used to identify individuals took place at the Republican National Convention, where law enforcement tested a system that allowed officers to scan the audience with tablet computers and smartphones, using a picture to collect data on any suspicious individuals. “You had these protestors there and people knew exactly who they were, there they live, and probably what party they were,” explained Rott. “It is a little bit alarming, that all of us are going to end up in a database, when we really haven’t done anything wrong,” said Fox-25 legal analyst, David Slane. “It’s something every Oklahoman should be concerned about,” said Rott. “What we’re starting to see is the taking of biometric data, and moving it away from criminal aspects to a more civil usage.”

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