Privacy concerns have scuttled state plans to meet all federal “Real ID” standards, which could result in Ohio driver’s licenses not being accepted as sufficient identification to board airplanes and enter federal buildings.
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles decided about five months ago to back off the Real ID compliance plan approved by the federal Department of Homeland Security, but it never made a public announcement about the change.
Ohio state officials take issue with Homeland Security’s demand that all relevant personal data, including birth certificates and medical records, be stored and shared with the federal agency.
The Buckeye State also rejected the federal government’s offer of facial recognition software that will scan license photos making it possible to track people forever, even if they change names or addresses. Of course, as this “one-person one license” standard is a federal program, every individual who carries a state-issued ID will be able to be tracked no matter where they go in the United States.
“The objection is that it’s not acceptable in many circles in Ohio to do facial recognition on everyone who comes in to get a license,” said Joe Andrews, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, as reported by the Dispatch. “People have concerns we are trampling their rights if we do this,” Andrews added.
Remarkably, similar concerns have been expressed by lawmakers on Capitol Hill, as well.
Forcing Americans to carry around an identification card to affirmatively prove citizenship offends our basic concept of freedom. Wanting to avoid a “papers please” culture in our country is also why conservatives oppose federal universal gun background checks. We oppose such measures not because we don’t believe in common-sense rules or regulation — but because we are wary of giving the federal government this kind of centralized power over our daily lives.
These draconian ideas would simply give government too much power.
Consolidating immense power is the true purpose of the REAL ID Act, and Ohio is right to refuse to cooperate in the scheme. In fact, other states should follow suit and force the federal beast to stay inside its constitutional cage.