Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Monday, April 02, 2012

False Sense of Security

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission has announced that beginning May 7, New Jersey motorists will have to provide more identification in order to obtain a state driver’s license that will bear a federal gold-star stamp.


Last year, the state began issuing digital driver’s licenses with enhanced security features to make it harder to counterfeit driver’s licenses. Motorists seeking new licenses or renewals will need to produce their actual social security card, along with two forms providing residency instead of just one.

According to the Star Ledger, after Dec. 1, 2017, people without the federal designation will not be able to board domestic flights or enter a federal building. A federally-approved identification, such as a U.S. passport would will be acceptable.

In order to combat driver’s license fraud the MVC recently began using facial recognition technology, as part of a federal standard. New Jersey drivers born after Dec. 1, 1964, must meet the new federal identity requirements before December 2014.

Those born before Dec. 1, 1964, have until their next renewal cycle. Federal enforcement for them begins in December 2017. The federal program is called REAL ID and the New Jersey version is TRU-DI (The Real U). The Motor Vehicle Commission admits that the additional verification could slow down the license renewal process. Therefore, once the photo is take, the state will issue an eight-year license instead of a four-year license.

Every driver’s information will be stored in a database. Wait. What?! Gold stars? Databases? Eight-year old photos? The state will only demand we renew our licenses every eight years. What kind of security is that? Why bother having the photos at all, in that case?

As a former company studio photographer, do the state and federal government realize how much people change in eight years? Eight years is a very long time in the life of an ID photo. Five years was the limit in our studio. After five years, we suggested employees come back for a new picture and they willingly agreed (for the most part). At eight years, the photo could apply for social security.

As for the gold stars, that’s just a little too reminiscent of the Holocaust of World War II and the totalitarian state of Nazi Germany. If the government wants us to prove we’re Americans, how about the American flag instead, especially since they want to make counterfeiting more difficult?

Finally, there’s the matter of not being able to board a domestic flight without it. Is this to be the digitalized beginning of having to have papers in order to cross the border of your state? That’s what they had to do in the old Soviet Union in order to travel.

All this, they tell us, is better than violating someone’s civil rights and profiling a likely terrorist.













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