The consternation over Missouri driver’s licenses and compatibility with the Federal REAL ID standard is greatly misplaced, particularly in light of the massive data breach at the CIA last week.

Chicken Little types are worried the sky will fall – or rather, they won’t be allowed to fly through the sky – unless Missouri reverses a 2009 law that was designed to protect their personal information. There is not much to worry about, as we will see below.

First, understand this: In 2009 the Missouri General Assembly correctly represented the sentiment of the people when they took a principled stand against what amounts to a national ID card. They knew that the card would ultimately become a Big Brother hybrid that 20th century despots could only dream of and George Orwell couldn’t even conceive of.

Although not part of the card now, anyone who is paying any attention at all knows that the collection of biometric data, like iris scans, and RFID chips will eventually be part of the cards.

And, frankly, you would have to be a fool to think that what starts out as optional participation in REAL ID will not ultimately be mandatory for everyone. Once we capitulate to REAL ID there will be no turning back.

Just three years after the General Assembly passed that 2009 law, 75% of Missouri voters ratified an amendment to our state Constitution that protects our electronic data. The 2009 class of reps and senators got it right – both on principle AND as a reflection of the people’s will.

And just four years after passing that 2009 law, the Missouri Department of Revenue was caught red-handed illegally compromising the personal data of tens of thousands of Missouri citizens. At that time, it was discovered that they are sending all of our personal data to an out of state company called MorphoTrust which is actually owned by a French company. You can’t make this stuff up!

So what about flying and accessing military bases after January 2018, when REAL ID goes into full effect?

It will be a non-event.

Here’s why I say that: Since January 2016, by order of the Department of Defense, all military bases have already been fully REAL ID compliant. Right now – today — to access Fort Leonard Wood all you need is your Missouri driver’s license and a copy of your birth certificate. Those two items will get you a pass to go on base just as well as an Orwellian REAL ID card.

For proof, Google Fort Leonard Wood and click on the “Installation Access Information” link in the center of the fort’s main page.

The Transportation Safety Administration hasn’t even announced all the alternatives to a REAL ID card they will accept for air travel, so why wouldn’t we think it will be the same as the fully compliant military bases?

There’s no doubt in my mind that Missouri citizens will be able to fly with a non-REAL ID driver’s license after January, as long as they also have one of the supplementary forms of ID, too, like a copy of their birth certificate.

Some will complain that they don’t want the inconvenience of getting a copy of their birth certificate, but you will need that same birth certificate, and other documents, to get a REAL ID card, so what makes more sense?

Last week’s news of major data breaches at the CIA, of all places, should make that choice even easier. And if the CIA’s inability to secure their own data doesn’t disturb you, the new revelations of all the ways they have been spying on you and I should!

This is the time to call your state rep and senator and tell them to have at least as much backbone as their predecessors did in 2009. Tell them Missourians value their privacy and don’t trust the rest of government to do any better job than the CIA has where data integrity in concerned. Tell them No! to REAL ID capitulation.

Ron Calzone, director
Missouri First, Inc.
Maries County, Missouri

Missouri First is a think tank that promotes personal liberty and constitutional governance.