ACLU Asks Motor Vehicle Administrators Not to Turn Driver's Licenses Into a National ID

February 11, 2002 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States


WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union told the nation’s motor vehicle administrators Sunday that their plan to standardize and unify the nation’s driver’s licenses would inevitably become a national ID system that would gravely threaten Americans’ privacy without making our society any safer.

“ID cards won’t prevent terrorism,” ACLU Associate Director Barry Steinhardt said in a speech before the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. “At best, an identification card simply confirms that you are who you say you are. At worst, an ID card will serve as proof of a false identity that will lull us into a false sense of security.”

“An identity card is only as good as the information that establishes a person’s identity in the first place. Birth certificates and Social Security cards can both be forged, bought, or stolen,” Steinhardt said. “It does not make sense to build a national identification system on a faulty foundation, particularly when possession of an ID card would give a terrorist a free pass to avoid heightened security measures.”

Steinhardt also told the motor vehicle administrators that their plan would have negative social consequences. “We believe that you will be creating a standard not just for driver’s licenses, but for the collection of personal information,” he said. “And once that standard is in place, it will be the ideal tool for organizing all the new data that is being gathered on individuals because of the tremendous explosion in computer technology of recent years.”

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in National Security

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About National Security

National Security issue image

The ACLU’s National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights.