Monday, February 09, 2015

DPS backs down on collecting all ten fingerprints from drivers as Lege session gets underway

The Texas Department of Public Safety Government Relations Division this morning sent out an email to legislators declaring that,
based on concerns and questions raised by a number of legislators regarding the statutory authority of DPS to collect all 10 fingerprints in order to obtain a driver license (DL) or identification (ID) card, the department will immediately cease collecting all 10 fingerprints in order to obtain a driver license or identification card. The department will continue to comply with Texas Transportation Code, Section 521.059, passed by the legislature in 2005, which requires the department to collect “an applicant’s thumbprints or fingerprints.”  The department will comply with any further direction or legislative action taken by the Texas Legislature regarding this matter.
So, if this program is ending, one wonders what will happen with the vestigial data collected over the last year? Will it be expunged? Has it already been shared with the feds through the state's fusion centers? (See more from the Dallas Morning News.)

I'm not a betting man but, if I were, I'd wager a sweet sum that DPS won't get the post hoc authorization they're looking for. The last time the Texas Legislature voted on this topic, the House shot down the idea by an 111-26 margin, defying the leadership in a post-9/11 homeland security vote. (See more background here.) It's hard to imagine that the margin has shifted at all since then and indeed today my rough guess would be the vote would turn out even more lopsided. We'll soon find out, won't we?


Arce said...

So prints of both thumbs or prints of exactly how many fingers? Generally, the word "fingerprints" means a set of one print of each of ten fingers!!!! I am not familiar with the history, but the common language in the rest of the country would be all ten is what is meant by the word "fingerprints". It would seem that the choice is between a minimal set (two thumbs) or a complete set.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

ARCE, you're ignoring both the word "thumbprints" and the legislative history of the statute in question, both of which show your reading to be flawed at best and disingenuous at worst.

DPS is spinning to pretend they received permission to do this. To everyone who was around when the Lege considered this question, it's absolutely clear they did not.

JJ said...
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JJ said...

Originally, it was to identify your body. Then the Real ID Act came down making the minimal standard. Then out of the blue come the ten print solution, of origins unknown and clearly with harvesting for other purposes. All your data is sold to the private companies as it is. Imagine the those companies having your prints, too. Some shady business going on behind all that. DPS has a tendency to put the cart before the horse and lots of lead down range before the end goal is properly evaluated. But I suspect the mining of your prints for commercial availability at the behest of some well connected business interests was the catalyst. I've never been able to introduce these low quality prints into an official proceeding because it is so poor. What good would 8 more crappy prints do?