Privacy and Security
Invasion of Privacy
Our nation’s Founding Fathers understood the consequences of a power-hungry government and designed a government in which citizens could be free and not under the watch of a domineering regime. The threat to liberty was spotlighted recently as the Senate discussed alleged unlawful actions taken by the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR), which has been accused of infringing on Missourians’ privacy through the state’s driver’s license renewal system. When Missourians seek a driver’s license or non-driver’s license (such as a CCW), they are required to produce documentation, such as a birth certificate. Through a court case in Stoddard County, it came to light that documentation was being scanned by DOR during this process and sent to a database. DOR recently made this procedural change, which clearly ignored Missouri law. The Georgia company that DOR sends the data to produces driver’s licenses and other permits, and, in the end, is supposed to destroy the information. However, lawmakers have noted that DOR cannot confirm that the information is terminated, and allegations have arisen that Missourians’ information is being shared with the federal government.
Hearings were conducted to investigate DOR’s actions, and officials from the state agency denied allegations of sharing source documents with the federal government. As noted in an article by Missourinet, the Senate Appropriations chairman said that the revenue director assured him the gathering of information did not involve the Department of Homeland Security and that the federal agency had not given DOR any grants. The article further states the senator noted that, “the department later denied gathering biometric data on license applicants. But earlier this week, a department official admitted to a legislative committee it was, in fact, gathering the information and, further, has a Homeland Security grant to help get the information.”
Missourians are rightfully furious. Law passed by the General Assembly in 2009 prohibits DOR from amending driver’s license application procedures in order to comply with the goals or standards of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. They also cannot sell any data derived from a person’s license or permit application for commercial purposes. The law states that any biometric data previously collected for the issuance or renewal of driver’s licenses or identification cards must be retrieved and deleted from all databases. Biometric data is defined as information that is used to uniquely identify individuals, such as a person’s facial characteristics. The federal government has no legitimate reason for holding this type of private information about Missourians.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” In moving forward, we need to determine the appropriate consequences for any unlawful actions committed, and ensure Missourians’ personal information is protected. To ensure that DOR does not rise above the law, a Senate bill (SB 252) was passed to prohibit DOR from retaining copies of source document used to obtain driver’s licenses and non-driver’s licenses.
With the recent debate over the National Blueway designations — particularly the White River Watershed National Blueway that covers property in Missouri and Arkansas — citizens are more worried than ever about the protection of their property. Although the designations are publicized as ways to help promote outdoor conservation, the deeper connotation behind these titles is government control. When an area is labeled a National Blueway, entities in Washington, D.C. could tell you what you can or cannot do to your own property if you do not meet new regulations enacted in accordance with the National Blueway designation. These regulations raise serious concerns for farmers and whether they will be able to continue to practice their livelihoods. For more details, please see my previous Capitol Report on the topic found here.
The National Blueway designations eerily resemble Agenda 21 — a sustainable development plan adopted in 1992 by the United Nations. It has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate, but, nevertheless, its influence has wiggled its way into our daily lives. To help protect citizens’ property rights, SB 265 was brought forth in the Missouri Senate and received bipartisan support in the Legislature; however, it was vetoed by the governor. The legislation would have prohibited the state and any political subdivision from implementing any policy recommendations that infringe on private property rights without due process and are traceable to the United Nation’s Agenda 21 or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the federal or state constitutions.
Property rights are a real issue to Missourians, and they want to be sure the land to which they devote their livelihoods is out of the federal government’s hands.
“Illegal immigration” is an oxymoron since immigration implies lawful migration into another country. What millions of foreign individuals have done is more accurately labeled “illegal entry.” Every citizen and legal resident should be concerned. Citizenship is devalued, and our heritage of liberty is threatened when borders and immigration status are ignored.
For comments regarding the recent Supreme Court decision regarding immigration laws, please click here: