Is Missouri tracking personal info through drivers licenses, gun permits?

2013-03-06T15:05:00Z 2014-10-24T14:22:52Z Is Missouri tracking personal info through drivers licenses, gun permits?By Elizabeth Crisp ​573-635-6178

JEFFERSON CITY • A Missouri House committee is preparing to hold a hearing next week on claims that the state Department of Revenue and local license fee offices have been tracking personal information through drivers’ licenses and concealed carry permits.

Rep. Jay Barnes, a Republican from Jefferson City who chairs the House Government and Accountability Oversight Committee, has sent a letter to the Revenue Department, the state Office of Administration and other agencies, requesting copies of all rules and procedures related to the copying and transfer of personal information of Missouri residents applying for drivers’ licenses or concealed carry permits. According to the letter, Barnes’ committee is planning a hearing for Monday, and he wants the information before then.

The Revenue Department recently rolled out new drivers’ licenses with enhanced security features that are supposed to curb the risk of identity theft and fraud. Because of the new security features, the licenses are mailed to recipients.

A Stoddard County man filed a lawsuit this week claiming that the new state system for issuing those violates privacy rights because it allows personal and private information to be collected and then disseminated to a private party and the federal government.

In the suit, Eric Griffin claims he was trying to complete the process of having a concealed carry permit added to his driver's license when he was told digital copies of his documents would be saved in the Department of Revenue's system.

“Missourians expect that information they are forced to disclose to government in order to obtain their driver’s licenses will remain confidential, protected, and not shared with private companies,” Barnes said in a statement today. “Data security is vital to individual freedom in the digital age and our committee will ensure that Missourians’ personal information is protected from unlawful disclosures.”

State Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, filed legislation today that would prohibit the Department of Revenue from scanning personal documents and transferring them to an out-of-state database.

“My legislation represents an important step we must take this session to protect the privacy of Missourians,” Richardson said in a statement. “We must prevent state agencies from violating the trust of our citizens by invading their privacy and sending their personal information to out-of-state entities.”

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said he considers the matter “a priority issue we want to address as expeditiously as possible.”

Jones and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, also a Republican, participated in a press conference with Griffin at the Capitol on Monday.

Elizabeth Crisp covers Missouri politics and state government for the Post-Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter at @elizabethcrisp.

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