In Arizona, legislation has been introduced that would create driver’s licenses equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) computer chips.
The RFID chip would be voluntary under the proposed legislation, but if the past is any indication, it may not be for long.
Voluntary may not even be the right description of the current legislation because the Department of Homeland security says that those without a Real ID-compliant license will not be able to board aircraft — even for domestic flights — or enter federal buildings.
You only have to look at the evolution of seat belt laws in the United States to figure out how it’s going to go down.
Seat belt legislation started with child-restraint laws, then secondary enforcement, and finally a full-on mandate in the majority of states. Why does this legislative escalation occur? It’s simple. The federal government just incentivizes their proposal so that each state, and by extension its citizens, feel like they have no choice but to go along with their program.
With the seat belt laws, it was the removal of transportation funding for states without primary enforcement laws. With expanded ID programs, it’s the removal of the ability to travel freely.
Besides being a permit to drive, the RFID driver’s license would serve as proof of citizenship, allowing Arizonans to drive or walk across the border without a passport that otherwise will be required next year, and allowing employers to be sure the person holding it is in this country legally.
This license would allow your information to be tracked through data banks and has a computer chip that can be read by scanners.
Arizona’s Governor, Janet Napolitano said “the chips contain no personal information, just an identification number.” She said “only someone with access to the state Department of Public Safety database could learn anything more about the holder.”
Alessandra Meetze, Executive Director of The Civil Liberties Union says “that’s little comfort even if it is true.” Meetze said, “it still would permit anyone with the right electronic equipment to track the movements of individuals.”
But hey, at least it’s our choice.