MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For millions of Minnesotans who board planes every year, a Minnesota state-issued driver’s license may no longer be enough.
Starting next year, you’ll need a tamper-proof high security license approved by the federal government and issued by the state.
And it’s making some state lawmakers uncomfortable.
“We don’t know what those chips in these ID cards are for,” said state Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove). “We want to know how far and how extensive this new technology will be in following the movements and transactions of individual citizens.”
At a meeting with Homeland Security officials, Minnesota state lawmakers raised serious questions about potential abuses, including a national database that could allow the government to track the movement of citizens.
“That’s one of my concerns, for sure,” said State Representative Peggy Scott (R- Andover). “With these Real IDs, they can kind of track your whereabouts, and I don’t think a lot of people would be happy with that.”
Four states, including Minnesota, have not yet complied with the federal requirements, and there’s a possibility Homeland Security could delay its implementation.
But Philip McNamara, the assistant secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs, assured lawmakers the government would not have access to state-specific driver’s license information.
“There is no federal ID card. There’s no federal database,” McNamara said. “The state still controls the data.”
Other top lawmakers call the new enhanced licenses “necessary in a post 9/11 world”.
“I worry more about my Target card getting hacked than getting an enhanced driver’s license,” said Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center), chair of the House Public Safety Committee.
“People are obviously wanting to be more secure and more confident,” he added. “I really don’t want people getting on planes and federal buildings that we don’t have a good idea who they are.”
Minnesota, Louisiana, New Hampshire and New York are the only states refusing to comply with the enhanced licenses.
Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, says the issue is important enough to call a special legislative session to pass it.
For those who want a high security license, Minnesota offers the enhanced license for $15, but only on request.
And airline passengers without the new license will be permitted to use a U.S. passport.