House Passes Bill Letting Oklahomans Opt Out of Having Photograph, Fingerprints in State ID Database

Mar 20, 2017

Credit Department of Public Safety

The Oklahoma House passes a measure allowing people to opt out of having their pictures or fingerprints in a state database of driver license and ID card holders.

House Bill 1465 applies only to ID not compliant with the REAL ID Act and says data associated with noncompliant ID must be kept in a separate database by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. Republicans Mike Ritze and Jon Echols said it’s a matter of privacy and personal security.

"Are you aware that the whole DPS system has been breached twice by the Chinese?" Ritze said.

"Thank you, representative. Yes, I am aware. It's twice, it's two times that has happened and all of our information has been exposed," Echols said.

KWGS could not verify the hacks Ritze mentioned.

Echols’ bill allows anyone without a felony on their record to have their biometric data deleted from the DPS database within 90 days.

"The numbering of individuals, that's ended poorly throughout the history of the world," Echols said. "Now, REAL ID isn't that direction, but I am concerned about the direction we're going."

Echols’ legislative assistant laid out similar concerns in a 2011 lawsuit against DPS. She didn’t want a high-resolution photo taken because of passages in the Bible’s book of Revelations.

Echols said HB1465 is meant to ensure citizens’ right to privacy. DPS's sharing of biometric data would be restricted to entities with a warrant. Minority Leader Scott Inman said rights are not the issue.

"The only reason we have that database is because people voluntarily offered to take advantage of a privilege," Inman said. "They weren't exercising their rights, they voluntarily offered to take advantage of the privilege to drive, right? I'm trying to understand why that voluntary privilege somehow outweighs the rest of our safety."

The bill does not allow people to opt out of DPS having their full name, birth date, home address or signature.