HB 346 creates a new class of Ohio state driver’s licenses, commercial driver’s licenses, and identification cards which would allow the holders of these new cards to more easily cross back into the United States at its borders with Canada and Mexico. This ease of access will be made possible by the inclusion of a person-specific radio frequency identification (RFID) chip and a barcode on each card, linked to a government database containing information about each cardholder. This bill also requires the Ohio Director of Public Safety to enter into an agreement with the US Department of Homeland Security, which would outline the criteria that must be met by applicants in order for the state of Ohio to issue these enhanced driver’s licenses. These criteria would include, but not be limited to, proof of citizenship and permission by the cardholder for the use of RFID scanning technology.
LCS Legislation Status
Our Take on This Bill
The ACLU of Ohio opposes HB 346 for many of the same reasons it opposes the similar Real ID program – on the concerns of privacy, data security, and cost. Furthermore, enhanced drivers licenses (EDLs) pose a risk to our constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure, as the unbridled use of RFID technology might allow government officials to track cardholders’ every move without a warrant.
Although HB 346 requires Ohio to implement “reasonable security measures to prevent counterfeiting and to protect against unauthorized disclosure of personal information,” the bill is silent as to what these measures might be. RFID chips contain sensitive information and are vulnerable to hacking, cloning, or disabling by anyone with a RFID reader, which can be purchased inexpensively online. HB 346 also does not provide any restrictions on whether other information, like that collected by other government agencies, can be included in the national database, and lacks limits on the locations where RFID scans by the government may be allowed.
EDLs seem like the legislature’s replacement to the federal Real ID Act, which was rejected by a significant number of states. Similarly, EDLs collect information of all cardholders into a single national database. The ACLU of Ohio urges the legislature to abandon this legislation which is as fundamentally flawed as the Real ID program.
Passed out of the House Transportation, Public Safety, and Homeland Security on 5/21/14
Transportation / Public Safety / Homeland Security (H)