Since its inception in 2005, the federal Real ID Act has been unpopular in Texas and throughout the country for its privacy rights violations and overreaching assumed federal authority over the states to create a national ID. Texas House Bill 3199 aims to bring Texas closer to compliance with the REAL ID Act, something none of us want to see happen.
HB3199 directs Texas DPS to collect personal information and biometric data of certain groups of Texans’ at the time of drivers license application, and to maintain this data in an electronic database. The bill also directs Texas DPS to embed an “integrated circuit chip” (RFID chip) in these individuals’ drivers licenses and/or personal identification cards. This RFID chip would be machine readable, allowing a person with an RFID reader and decryption savviness to gain access to this information.
While HB3199 mandates that these “secure drivers licenses” be applicable only to “applicants for the provision of state and federal government program benefits” and “first responders and other emergency personnel,” this bill is really one big incremental step to ultimately require that ALL Texas driver’s licenses contain an RFID chip, and that all Texans submit personal biometric data — all in order to obtain a simple drivers license.
HB3199 is a blatant violation of Texans’ privacy rights. If passed, the state DPS would collect and store more of Texans’ private information than ever before in an electronic database, all of which would be accessible to DPS agents, and inevitably hackers and resourceful criminals. Also, as per the federal REAL ID Act that HB3199 is taking its cues from, these state databases would be shared nationally between all the states’ DPS agencies, as well as internationally between foreign governments (in a stated effort to thwart terrorism through shared intelligence).
In addition, HB3199 directs Texas DPS to “set a fee for issuance of a secure drivers license in a reasonable amount necessary” to cover the costs of the RFID chip inclusion and maintenance of the electronic database. This fee increase will place an additional cost to Texans in an already brutal economy, which is unacceptable.
Take action NOW!
The bill is scheduled to be heard on May 2, 2013, before the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee.
When: This Thursday, May 2, 2013
Where: Room E2.010
Please show up for the hearing on Thursday! Come to show your support. You may sign up to speak, or simply register your opposition to the bill.
Can’t make it to the Capitol? Call each committee member! Let him/her know that you were not able to attend the hearing, but that you are strongly against HB1399 because it is a violation of your privacy rights.
CALL the Committee… 9 members … 9 minutes
Rep. Joe Simmons — (512) 463-0478