The standards are intended to weed out impostors applying for licenses, in part by requiring state employees to check on the validity of birth certificates and other supporting documents. After states adopt the necessary changes, anyone applying for or renewing a license will get one reflecting the new standards.
But once the law takes full effect three years from now, it will also give many more bureaucrats access to personal information on people nationwide. And it will add more data to each file — including digital copies of documents with birth and address information.
To some industry experts and activists concerned about the fast- growing crime of identity theft, putting so much data before more eyes guarantees abuse at a time when people are increasingly concerned about who sees their personal information and how it gets used.
“It’s a gigantic treasure trove for those who are bent on obtaining data for the purpose of creating fake identities,” said Beth Givens of the nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Armed with a stranger’s name, Social Security number and date of birth, it’s not hard for fraudsters to take out bogus loans that can wreck a victim’s credit record.
Additional Background. Let Senators Kohl & Feingold know your views on this latest personal information grab.