The Police State of Colorado

(orig. pub. 3/10/2011)

I went in person to renew my driver’s license on March 4, 2011 (at 14th and Chambers, in Aurora).  I was surprised to see a complete metal detector set-up, with three cops standing by, which I had to pass through to enter the building.  While I expect these in courthouses now, I did not expect them in the driver’s license bureau.

I was fingerprinted (one finger on an electronic pad), and asked for my social security number, as well as contact info for two people who know me, for emergency purposes.

I was then asked to take my glasses off for the photo–and, when I expressed surprise, because I always wear them, the photographer told me that it was really an “eye scan for identification purposes.” 

I was again surprised to see them punch a hole in my old license and give me not a replacement license, but a piece of paper saying I’m awaiting my new license, which will be mailed in 30 days.  I was required to sign my name on an electronic signature device, which printed out on the same paper.  I was told by a friend later that it takes 30 days to issue the new license because they are going to put a microchip in it. 

None of these requirements–save a vision test, which I also took–has anything to do with the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.  I don’t think the DMV is even authorized to ask for this information.  The regs for driver’s licenses say that the fingerprint is required, as well as rather minimal information about the driver (name, date of birth, gender, and residence address).  If you go in in person, you take the vision test; and you must provide identification.  It appears I could have avoided both, as well as the photograph, if I had just renewed online, which I now see I could have done!  And they would not have my signature electronically recorded, either.  I believe they intend to use this information to run a criminal check–and obviously they can use it in future for any other kind of check they want to run.

I find nothing in the statutes or regulations authorizing an “eye scan for identification purposes” or putting a microchip in the license, let alone collecting the SSN, emergency contact info, and electronic signature, and requiring everyone to pass through metal detectors.  I emailed the Dept. of Revenue, asking where the authorization was for these things and whether they could even do an eye scan for identification, or were actually putting microchips in the licenses, and they said, “Ask the governor!

Say what??  Is there an executive order out there to that effect?  I have emailed the governor twice and not received a response.

I drove home from that driver’s license bureau and passed through I don’t know how many cameras at intersections.  Aurora is putting spy cams up everywhere.

I am more disturbed than I can say by the police state Colorado has become.  I can’t believe I just put all that personal information into the government’s database like a dumb bunny, and that I was misled by the DMV officials to believe I had to provide it to renew my license.

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