Ramblings of Silver Blue


24 May

Does it make you feel safer?

No. It just goes to show how paranoid bureaucrats will latch onto any possible “fix.”

Some background: due to 9/11, and loopholes in Virginia law, a number of the hijackers ended up with Virginia Identification. Because of this, the “wise” decision has been made to end “on the spot” issuing of licenses so that photo checks can be made, etc. All in the name of “Homeland Security”.

They say it will take up to three days to compare the photograph taken with the database to weed out false applications.

Pardon me, but this is pure bull crap. If I have a photo already on record, why should it take 3 days to compare photographs?

How is “mailing” my new drivers license going to make the process any more secure? Are we, as Virginians going to have to resort to purchasing locking mailboxes, mounted in cement and under video surveillance? I’ve had items lost in the mail, and I’ve had my mail stolen. I don’t care to have my drivers license stolen as well due to no fault of my own, thank you very much.

With the proliferation of technology these days, there is no call for a three day delay. There is no call for the increased fees in mailing out licenses, only to have them lost in the mail or stolen, and therefore we, as users, have to pay replacement fees for licenses that never arrive in the first place.

DMV also has moved to online verification of Social Security numbers. In January 2004, it imposed higher standards for proof of citizenship by license applicants. And new federal rules passed by Congress this month will take that a step further by requiring anyone renewing a driver’s license in the United States to provide legal residency, often with a birth certificate.

So, regardless of the fact that I was born in Virginia, have been a resident for over 25 years, and have had a license for 20 years, now, every five years (upon renewal) I have to prove that I’m a legal resident of the US? This is not only unacceptable, it’s laying just another layer of bureaucracy on the average citizen that those who are out to defraud will have an easier way to circumvent. Once I have provided proof of legal status, that shouldn’t be required again. But that’s right. I’m not supposed to say anything against Homeland Security or the “justification” for life being more difficult because “the war on terror has made the world a safer place.”

Cough, Cough. Right. My father and grandfather served in the armed service to make America a safe place for democracy, not a haven for paranoid half-wits who are knee-jerking to every proposed “solution” to a situation that is only being exacerbated by idiots.

DMV will quit issuing on-the-spot photo licenses
By TOM HOLDEN, The Virginian-Pilot

© May 24, 2005
Last updated: 11:01 PM

A trip to a Department of Motor Vehicles office for a new driver’s license or a renewal will soon end without the familiar plastic-covered photograph.

The Virginia DMV announced Monday that it wants customers to leave local offices with paperwork granting them permission to drive but having no value as photographic identification.

The department will mail the plastic driver’s license about three days later – after it has had a chance to compare the applicant’s new digital image with existing images in the DMV database.

The same process will apply to those who are seeking a state-issued photo ID card.

The effort is aimed at thwarting people who use false names and addresses to obtain multiple licenses or ID cards. It also will allow the DMV to put in place the technical means to manage increasing amounts of digitized information, which is regularly used by state and federal law enforcement agencies.

The move is the latest change for a department that has slowly been tightening its security requirements following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Seven of the 19 hijackers had valid Virginia identification cards obtained through loopholes DMV has been working to close.

DMV also has moved to online verification of Social Security numbers. In January 2004, it imposed higher standards for proof of citizenship by license applicants. And new federal rules passed by Congress this month will take that a step further by requiring anyone renewing a driver’s license in the United States to provide legal residency, often with a birth certificate.

DMV does not compare new license pictures today because it does not have the technology to do so, said Pam Goheen , deputy director of communications at DMV.

Earlier this month, DMV asked the private sector to develop and install the new digital system. Vendor proposals are due by June 28 . DMV wants its new system installed by the fall of 2006.

Because the system is still out for bid, the DMV did not say how much it expected the new system to cost.

“The system will be able to confirm that the individual’s photo is not connected to any other Virginia driver’s license or photo identification card,” Goheen said. “It will scan the entire system for matches.”

The system will use facial recognition software that maps keys features of an individual’s face – such as the shape of the ears or the distance between the eyes – to compare traits. Distractions such as smiles, hair styles or clothing are ignored.

Matches showing a person applying for multiple licenses will be set aside for further review. Driver’s license pictures are good for 10 years or less. After that, a new picture is required to reflect changes in a person’s appearance.

The existing process is familiar to any person who is licensed to drive.

Customers enter a DMV office, take a number, present themselves at a counter and request a new license. If they are required to take a test, they are issued a form and told to fill it out and turn it back in. If they pass, they wait to have their picture taken. They wait a little longer and then walk out with a new license.

Many steps in the new system are expected to be the same, except that the picture-taking and paperwork will be in reverse order , Goheen said.

Internet customers are already accustomed to this process.

Renewing by the Internet allows people to print documents at home that serve as temporary driving permit papers until the official license is mailed to the person’s home.

Reach Tom Holden at (757) 446-2331 or tom.holden@pilotonline.com.

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