Have you received your driver’s license renewal notice from the Vermont DMV recently?
It comes with plenty of changes, none of them good for anyone concerned with privacy and records protection.
In fact, mine came with this scary poster:
And the kicker (one wonders whether some DMV employee has a sense of irony … nah) is the bottom line:
Thank you for helping us keep America safe.
Here are your license renewal options: Get a “Real ID”- compliant driver’s license (and for that you get what they call a “gold star”); OR get a “Driver’s Privilege Card,” good for a maximum of two years, and marked in a scary red banner:
NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION
For those who don’t know what “Real ID” means:
1. In effect, the state no longer regulates the issuance of driver’s licenses and non-driver’s identification cards; the federal government does.
2. In about 18 months, the United States will have established a de facto national identity card, without which you cannot board a plane or enter any federal building (with the likely exception of the Post Office).
3. The REAL ID Act imposes on states, now including Vermont, federal regulations on data retention and storage; documents required to issue a driver’s license (see below); and the linking of databases, to name just a few.
Think about it.
Some of the most infamous tyrannies (think Germany in the late 1930s, or South Africa in the 1970s) required that their citizens carry their national ID cards with them at all times, subject to severe penalties, or even the suspicions/whims of a cop having a bad day.
[REAL ID document requirements and latest local intrusions after the jump.]
REAL IDs cannot be issued in Vermont unless you renew your license in person at a DMV office.
You must bring with you 3 forms of ID:
- passport and/or name change documents, including marriage or civil union certificate;
- at least one document containing your social security number
- your social security card
- a W-2
- or a pay stub);
- two pieces of mail with name & street address, or if you’re using a PO box,
- copies of property tax bill
- utility bill
- property insurance policy.
- copies of property tax bill
If you’ve got all that, you get a “gold” star for your REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or non-driver ID. And, the contents of all those “proof of identity and residence” documents will be encoded onto your REAL-ID gold-star Vermont (hah) Driver’s License.
If not, or if you choose to renew by mail, no gold star for you! instead, you get the scary, red banner NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION on your 2-year “Driver’s Privilege Card,” after which time you have to come up with the documents for your federal national identity document.
So let’s remember that, originally, your social security number was only to be used for, um, your social security account and related tax forms. Right. Now, think of all the places you are asked for your social security number.
Now imagine how many places will refuse to accept any identification other than the gold-star REAL ID: federally chartered banks, federal courts, the aforementioned airlines, grocery stores validating debit and credit cards, car dealerships, insurance companies, clinics and hospitals receiving federal funds.
Imagine how suspiciously the state cop will regard you when you offer your “Driver Privilege Card” with your insurance card the next time you have a taillight out or you’re traveling a mite fast.
And now imagine how undocumented migrant workers might feel, since, according to current DMV website examples and a statement at the top of the renewal form I received, the non-REAL-ID-compliant “license” is the same card that they get: a “Driver’s Privilege Card.”
Vermont’s DMV already has scanned every driver’s license photo it has into a digital database, which is potentially available to any federal or state investigator for any reason – or none. All they have to do is ask. And now the askers will have access to your property tax bill, your home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy, and what you’re paying for utilities and to whom.
The final intrusion is, to the best of my recollection, a brand new renewal question, regardless of which brand of driver ID document you get:
4. Do you have a history of any physical or mental condition including diabetes, epilepsy, seizures or blackouts, (other than properly corrected eyesight) that could affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle?
Answering yes requires explanation and details of medications.
Which means that suddenly the DMV has your health information in its files, available to anyone who has access to DMV records, and apparently without any of the protections built into healthcare records elsewhere.
And what if you say no? Will the DMV check into healthcare records to confirm or challenge your answer? On what authority?
This is not the security state: it’s the surveillance state. And Vermont has surrendered.
Thank you, Vermont DMV, for helping “us” keep America submissive and surveilled.