DMV: From “License” to “Privilege” with a Yellow Star

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:

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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:


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
    • 1099
    • 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.

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.

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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.

25 thoughts on “DMV: From “License” to “Privilege” with a Yellow Star

  1. Question 4 has, in one form or another, been on the license renewal forms for many years (at least 30).  If people have health problems that affect their ability to drive, it only makes sense that the DMV know about it.  It’s not like your entire medical history is suddenly demanded and made accessible.  Also, ever since the first driving licenses were issued, driving has always been a privilege, never a right, so the words “Driver’s Privilege Card” should not immediately give rise to thoughts of Nazi Germany (although I admit that “Homeland Security” has always done that for me).

  2. You say “all those “proof of identity and residence” documents will be encoded onto your REAL-ID gold-star Vermont (hah) Driver’s License.”

    What makes you believe this to be true?

  3. of massive & enhanced id-ing has been going on for a while. Following the signing in 2008 (I think) by GBW, states have resisted primarily on constitutional grounds. VT is the newest to join the herd, er, flock.

    My bank, around that time placed a prominantly displayed an impossible-to-miss notification that it as in full compliance & would require picture id to open account. I unceremoniously closed my account however existing customers were not required. Next bank never asked for this, I don’t think.

    I moved finances to town where I live & have a different bank now. They did claim to “require” it. When I stated I didn’t have one, nice lady asked if I could get one, short answer: No. She then stated I could use “other forms of id” Aha, fos and guilty as charged.

    Pharmacies are now aboard the civil liberty-denying bandwagon claiming photo id required for certain prescriptions. I do not believe they can legally require this iow it’s “policy”. My drugstore isn’t requiring me but there is a sign that “for some prescriptions” it is required. An online search comes up w/nothing.

    My physician has attempted also to claim I may require a piss test. When asked why, reason was given to ensure I am not diverting meds. I haven’t been asked, if I am not sure what to do — hire a lawyer to get meds??? I have no criminal record & am deeply offended to say the least at being treated like a criminal when I’ve never been in bracelets nor is there any reason to beleive I would begin doing this following over 25 years of steadily receiving same meds.

    This is a complete outrage — I’m particularly stunned by the responses here which range from getting it to completely not getting it but nevertheless docile. I guess I’ll have to move to Russia if I want my individual rights honored — land of the free ain’t the land of the free. Lady Liberty either dead or at the very least been knocked unconscious though symbolic gesture of the statue remains.

  4. was recently brought to my attention by a friend who is over eighty.

    He made the trip in from Bakersfield to renew his drivers license (as he has done for decades) only to discover that he should have read the fine print of new renewal requirements.

    They weren’t proposing to re-test him on his functionality as a driver, which would be a reasonable requirement actually relating to the purpose of the license; they were demanding to see his social security card which had gone missing when Elvis was still alive!

    Lacking that, he had several alternatives, but he didn’t happen to have his last tax return in his hip pocket, so he went away with a “Privilege” card.  But the implications of the new law didn’t escape this man who never thought he would live to see the day when Americans would be tagged for surveillance like that.

    The shape of things to come was made pretty plain to him by this quiet new development, and he was outraged.

  5. I purchased the old version, non photo green plastic card that wore off within the two years it was valid.

    made the rental car guys  crazy and gave the TSA folks a self-serving snort or two when they said it didn’t work for travel….  

    not sure why I gave it up or if it is still available but it was a novelty all over the country.  

    Yes, bread was free, gas was 29 cents, and you didn’t need to write cents out because there was this neat symbol down on the lower right of the keyboard back when you heard a smack when you hit the key.

    Still, the invasion of daily life by the euphemism of “Homeland Security” never set well.   Homeland is way to German bad history, and security isn’t having a cop or psudo cop looking at you when you pee or feeling you up in the airport.  

    Just like the finish line at the Boston Marathon two years ago, having a lot of security around does NOT make you more secure.  This year, they simply didn’t let you close to the finish line-closed the area down so freedom of association was out the window, and we were all SO much safer…   bastards.    

    I actually thought we were avoiding the universal ID card up here in the mountains…. ???   as with everything, if you don’t conform, you do not get money….   addicts, who needs them??

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