Resolution on National Standards for State Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards

Resolution on National Standards for State Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards

Adopted by the Board of Governors on October 7, 2002 


RESOLUTION ON NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR
STATE DRIVER'S LICENSES AND IDENTIFICATION CARDS

Resolution on National Standards for State Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards
Subsequent to the September 11th terrorist attacks, public discussion began about the need for a national identification system in the U.S. In Congress, however, members of both political parties rejected the idea because of concerns about civil liberties and no legislation was introduced. It was also recognized that the U.S. already has a de facto identification system in the form of state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards, which are commonly used for many purposes, including boarding flights, entering public buildings and conducting banking.

The fact that 10 of the September 11th terrorists had obtained fraudulent driver's licenses spurred a reexamination by state authorities of the standards for issuance and use of licenses and identification cards, resulting in a call for increased security, modernization and standardization across state boundaries. Legislation codifying this has been introduced in Congress and will be debated over the next year. This legislation is aimed at improving the security involved in issuing and using licenses and identification cards, but could also be a vehicle to protect and even strengthen personal privacy. While the specific details of this legislation will be critical, the American Jewish Committee endorses the following broad principles:


Minimum national standards should be developed for use by each state for the issuance of state driver's licenses and identification cards, including the documentation required for a license.

Minimum national standards should be required for the information contained on driver's licenses and identification cards, including biometric information.

States should cooperate on an interstate network to exchange driver history information, including such information as whether a license has been revoked.

Federal funding should be provided for research and development of such standards, as well as for new technologies and pilot programs, such as for identifying fraudulent documents and improving anti-counterfeiting techniques.

Penalties for fraud in obtaining or using driver's licenses and identification cards should be increased significantly.

The protection of personal privacy is an important goal that should be emphasized in the development of national standards for state driver's licenses and identification cards. Dissemination of personal information by government agencies and the sale of data for commercial purposes should be restricted except as necessary for important public policy purposes or where the license/id holder consents to such dissemination.



Adopted by the Board of Governors on October 7, 2002.

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