Ohio drops plans to comply with fed's ID rules


COLUMBUS — Citing privacy concerns, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles has decided to back off plans to comply with federal driver’s license rules.

The Columbus Dispatch reported today that the state scuttled plans to comply with the Real ID plan approved by the federal Department of Homeland Security. The decision was made about five months ago but never announced publicly.

State officials balked at the “one driver-one license” rule that calls for the use of face-recognition software to determine if an applicant previously was issued a license under another name. The state also opposes a requirement to store and share copies of personal documents, such as birth certificates, said Ohio Department of Public Safety spokesman Joe Andrews. He said officials believe Ohio IDs already are sufficiently secure.

Ohio is among a growing number of states that are refusing to comply with federal standards intended to toughen access to driver’s licenses. It could result in Ohio licenses not being accepted to board airplanes and enter federal buildings.

States generally are complying with the one-license rule. But Ohio officials said privacy concerns were raised about that plan.

“The objection is that it’s not acceptable in many circles in Ohio to do facial recognition on everyone who comes in to get a license,” Andrews told the newspaper.

A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman declined to answer specific questions about Ohio’s decision, saying the agency’s goal is to implement the law “in a measured, fair, and responsible way.”

The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the state’s decision.