Originally created 05/05/02

Legislation would add biometrics to driver's licenses

WASHINGTON -- Driver's licenses could be encrypted with retinal scans, fingerprints and other security features under a bill before Congress aimed at cracking down on fake IDs.

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said Wednesday such safeguards could have stopped or disrupted the activities of several of the Sept. 11 hijackers. Eight of the 19 had falsified driver's licenses or other IDs from Virginia, he said.

The legislation by Moran and Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., would add a computer chip with biometrics data - such as retinal scans or fingerprints - to licenses. The identifiers would be similar to those that Congress wants to require on passports and visas.

The bill would provide states a total of up to $315 million over five years to adopt the new licenses and establish a nationwide hookup of motor vehicle departments to prevent duplication and help verify applicants' identities.

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