[Politech] Analysis of new driver's license/national ID House bill [priv]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Mon Jan 31 2005 - 20:56:56 PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: for politech - on Sensenbrenner ID bill
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 15:20:51 -0500
From: J Plummer <jplummer@private>
To: declan@private


I've been comparing the Sensenbrenner bill's section on driver's license /
national ID with the language in the 9/11 "intelligence reform" bill; and
noted a few things.  The Sensenbrenner bill would repeal the
license/national ID provisions of the 9/11 intel bill and create a
different system for turning driver's licenses into a national ID
card.    The 9/11 bill set up a "rulemaking" committee, which will be led
by DOT and staffed by DOT, DHS, NGA and AAMVA (American Association of
Motor Vehicle Administrators -- trade association for DMVs).  The
Sensenbrenner sets this aside with the following changes:

1) The minimum standards for information contained on licenses is the same
as those listed in the 9/11 bill.  In the 9/11 bill, the list of seven
requirements (name, address, gender, ID number, digital photo) is a floor
for national standrards. Sensenbrenner's bill would allow the states to
implement stronger biometrics than a digital photo, etc.  The intel bill
leaves the door open for the "rulemaking" to mandate stronger biometrics at
the national level.

2) Both bills require licenses to have a common machine-readable
technology; the intel bill leavs the exact defintion of that up to the

3)  Sensenbrenner lists which documents are acceptable as proof of identity
when applying for a license; the intel bill leaves that up to the
rulemaking.  Senbrenner bill tells states how they must verify these
documents (eg, cheack with SSA on SSN; the intel bill leaves verification
up to the federal rulemaking.

4) Sensenbrenner requires licenses be issued only to US citizens or
fully-legal immigrants/foreigners; intel bill is silent.

5) Sensenbrenner bill gives the Homeland secretary the unilateral power to
strengthen the standards for the licenses (eg, stronger biometrics such as
finer- or eye-print) at any time, as long as he claims it is for "national

6) Sensenbrenner bill requires state databases to be linked to one another
and s to join AAMVA's "Driver's License Agreement."   The DLA explicitly
styates that states and provinces of Mexico and Canada are elgible to
join.  This means that the Sensenbrenner bill essentially creates not a
national ID card, but a tri-national ID card here in the United States of

James Plummer
National Consumer Coaltion, Privacy Group
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