In 2009 the Missouri General Assembly correctly represented the sentiment of the people when they took a principled stand to protect our personal information – that's when they passed the law that forbids the state from participating in the federal REAL ID program.
They knew that the REAL ID card would ultimately become a Big Brother hybrid that 20th century despots could only dream of and George Orwell couldn't even conceive of. Last week's news about the data breach at the CIA illustrates their wisdom, especially in light of the revelation about all the ways the CIA is spying on us.
Reps and senators in 2009 knew that the collection of biometric data, like iris scans, and RFID chips will eventually be part of the cards.
Now some Missouri lawmakers want to modify the 2009 law under the guise of “choice”. After all, who can complain about letting each citizen decide whether he wants a REAL ID card or the old style driver's license?
But the “choice” is actually a false choice.
You would have to be a fool to think that what starts out as optional participation in REAL ID will not ultimately be mandatory for all, and once we capitulate there will be no turning back.
Just three years after the General Assembly passed that 2009 law, 75% of Missouri voters ratified a constitutional amendment that protects our electronic data. The 2009 class of reps and senators got it right – both on principle AND as a reflection of the people's will.
Their mistrust of government was prophetic; just four years after passing that 2009 law the Missouri Department of Revenue was caught red-handed illegally compromising the personal data of tens of thousands of Missouri citizens. At that time, it was also discovered that they are sending all of our personal data to an out of state company called MorphoTrust which is actually owned by a French company.
What about flying and accessing military bases after January 2018?
When REAL ID goes into full effect will not be the problem some claim it will be. Military bases have been fully REAL ID compliant since January 2016 and all it takes to get on base is your Missouri driver's license and another form of ID, like your birth certificate.
For proof, google “Fort Leonard Wood” and click on the “Installation Access Information” link in the center of the fort's main page.
When airports stop accepting current Missouri driver's licenses, they will likely use the same protocol as military bases, and using a copy of your birth certificate is actually less hassle than getting a REAL ID card.
This is the time to call your state rep and senator and tell them to have at least as much backbone as their predecessors did in 2009. Tell them Missourians value their privacy and don't trust the rest of government to do any better job than the CIA has where data integrity in concerned. Tell them No! to REAL ID capitulation.
Ron Calzone, director
Missouri First, Inc.
Maries County, Missouri
Missouri First is a think tank that promotes personal liberty and constitutional governance.