[Politech] Highlights from new bill revamping state drivers licenses [priv]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Wed Jan 26 2005 - 14:47:50 PST

I managed to get a copy of the bill and have placed it here:

A few highlights:

* The law gives the Dept of Homeland Security the power to set
requirements for drivers licenses. This is similar to a bill that we
discussed last year. An excerpt from a column I wrote about it:

"A Senate bill introduced last month in response to the 9/11
Commission's report would give the Department of Homeland Security
unfettered power to regulate state drivers' licenses and ID cards. The
House version takes a similar approach. Both measures say federal
agencies will only accept licenses and ID cards that comply--a
requirement that would affect anyone who wants to get a U.S. passport,
obtain Social Security benefits, or even wander into a federal
courthouse. States would be strong-armed into complying."

* This bill requires "a common machine-readable technology, with
defined minimum data elements" and the presentation of a Social
Security Number before a license can be issued.

* States get $$$ from the feds if they share their data in a national
database that provides "electronic access by a state to information
contained in the motor vehicle databases of all other states" that
includes "motor vehicle drivers' histories, including motor vehicle
violations, suspensions, and points on licenses."

* In another section, the Dept of Homeland Security receives the
blanket authority to waive "all laws" that could stand in the way of
erecting more barriers at borders.

* Federal immigration law is changed to bar aliens who have "engaged
in a terrorist activity" -- they now would be unable to enter the
U.S. legally.

* The definition of terrorist activity is broadened (for starters, it
includes the PLO). It also covers anyone providing "communications" to
a organization the U.S. dislikes. Should ISPs be worried?

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