NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Sale Of License Photos Enrages Drivers

February 1, 1999

The decision of officials in several states to sell drivers license photos to a private concern in New Hampshire has created an uproar. The pictures would be used to help retailers prevent fraud.

  • South Carolina's attorney general has filed suit asking a judge to order the company to return the database and Gov. James H. Hodges ordered that the Department of Public Safety let drivers stop the sale of their images.
  • Florida legislators predicted the law that allowed the sale of that state's drivers licenses would be modified or repealed.
  • Colorado Gov. Bill Owens condemned the sale of more than 5 million drivers license photos and said he would do whatever he could to stop their planned transfer to the purchasing company.

Florida motor vehicle officials have reportedly been deluged with angry phone calls from drivers.

The small New Hampshire company, Image Data LLC would use its computers to display a photo of a person named on a check or credit card on a small screen at retail stores, enabling a clerk to verify a purchaser's identity.

Sources: Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Liz Leyden, "Sale of License Photos Sparks Uproar," Washington Post, January 30, 1999.


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