Attempts by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to revamp its driver licenses and DMV programs to include biometric information and capabilities is encountering staunch opposition from privacy rights groups, according to a San Jose Mercury News article.
The intention of the program is to fit the state’s DMVs with facial recognition software and databases of state resident’s biometric information to help prevent problems with identity theft.
While state government officials are citing the success of similar programs in Oregon, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Georgia, the privacy advocates are still worried that the databases of information could be used improperly by state authorities to track or spy on innocent residents such as those exercising their rights of protest. DMV officials, however, are dismissing the claims of these organizations as they say under state law, law enforcement agencies would not have open access to any of the databases containing residents’ information.
One of the biggest concerns of the privacy groups, however, is that the application is being put through an expedited process that will deny any sort of public hearing about the new system. State officials maintain that this is due to the contract on current systems expiring in June and them wanting to be ready to upgrade all of the failing equipment with what they see as the next logical step.
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