Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Biometric Boondoggle

This morning House Bill 2337 was heard in the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee. The bill has already passed out of the House. If 2337 passes this session, Texas will have taken a giant leap toward a Big Brother society where all Texans who want drivers licenses will have to give their thumbprint and other facial recognition information to DPS. The information will go into a giant database. DPS will then have the right to dip into that database for information on Texans regardless of whether they have committed a crime or not.

While officials from three different police agencies signed cards in favor of the bill, nobody testified on its behalf this morning. The testimony against the bill focused primarily on how easy it could be to compromise such a database. If an identity thief steals your social security number, it's possible to change it. If they get your biometric information, there's not much you can do.

Social Conservative Rep. Frank Corte (R-San Antonio) brought this legislation up last session and was gunned down by both Republicans and Democrats in the House. It's one of those issues that unite both liberals and libertarians who are both wary of government threats to personal privacy. But this session could be different. One of the best place to get more information on biometrics at the Lege is here and here at Scott Henson's blog Grits for Breakfast.