ACLU Says Standardized Driver's License
Proposals Walk and Talk
Like National ID Schemes
To: National Desk
Contact: Gabe Rottman of the American Civil Liberties Union,
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2002 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Concerned with the
increasing interest by the Bush Administration and some in Congress
in a series of proposals to standardize driver's licenses across
the country, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today
decried the schemes, calling them de facto national IDs and a
serious threat to privacy, liberty and safety.
"As the old adage goes, if a driver's license standardization
proposal walks like national ID and talks like national ID, it must
be a national ID, regardless of any spin its supporters provide,"
said Katie Corrigan, an ACLU legislative counsel. "We're
increasingly facing the likelihood of the government trying to dupe
the American public by bringing forth a national ID scheme through
a legislative back door."
Corrigan's remarks were prompted by an announcement today by
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge that the White House is
studying ways to standardize state driver's licenses across the
country. The ACLU urged President Bush to stick with his current
public opposition to a national ID card and see the uniform
licensing proposals for what they are: de facto national ID cards.
A recent report by the apolitical National Research Council
stated explicitly that standardized driver's licenses would be a
"nationwide identity system," Corrigan said.
The ACLU also pointed to the introduction on Wednesday of a
measure by Virginia Reps. Tom Moran, a Democrat, and Tom Davis, a
Republican, which would force states to comply with nationwide
standards for driver's licenses and require the linking of
licensing databases across the country into one giant integrated
Critics of the standardized drivers license measures from across
the political spectrum -- including the Eagle Forum, immigration
groups and state legislators -- have noted that they meet the
criteria for a national ID, contrary to the assertions of the
bills' sponsors and supporters.
"The positioning of this bill as a pro-privacy, non-national ID
measure is almost comical," Corrigan said. "The 'privacy
protections' in this bill are less material than a ghost -- it's
clearly a national ID."
The Moran-Davis bill is also similar to a measure that is
expected to be introduced soon by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).
The proposal would also implement nationwide standards for driver's
licenses and allow for the linking of databases. The ACLU is
strongly opposed to the Durbin plan, saying it has the potential to
lull Americans into a dangerously false sense of security given the
frequency with which the card will be forged or its linked
An ACLU letter to President Bush opposing the driver's license
proposal can be found at: