U.S. considers encoding data on driver’s licenses

January 9, 2002 | Source: USA Today

The government is taking its first steps with the states to develop driver’s licenses that can electronically store information — such as fingerprints — for the 184 million Americans who carry the cards.
Privacy experts fear the effort may lead to de facto national identification cards that would allow authorities to track citizens electronically, circumventing the intense debate over federal ID cards.

Supporters said it was predictable after Sept. 11, and after a briefly raucous debate over U.S. identity cards, that officials would turn to improving existing identification systems. With careful use, they say, these new licenses could alert authorities if a suspected terrorist attempted to board an airliner, withdraw cash or enter the country.