Originally created 10/26/02

DMV treats drivers like criminals



OK. So shame on me for being sound asleep in 1996. That's the year some "freedom-loving" Georgia legislator thought it would be cool to discreetly attach a provision to a late-night, last-minute appropriations bill, requiring all those seeking a Georgia driver's license to submit a digital scan of their fingerprint to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Undoubtedly, some of you are thinking, what's the big deal? Why do I care if the state has my print? I haven't done anything wrong.

Exactly. You haven't done anything wrong. When you think of someone getting printed, you think of mug shots and pin stripes ("turn to the right"). You think of gun crimes and robberies. You think of lineups and criminal suspects.

And that is precisely what this new law makes every driver in the state of Georgia - a suspect in a crime. Any time there is a crime committed where a discernible fingerprint is left at the scene or on a weapon, you could be digitally interrogated.

You may be on your way to the store or sleeping in your bed while, at the same time, you are in a computerized criminal lineup. You could be at the gym working out or at home playing with your kids, while some forensic scientist is trying to decide whether or not your print matches the ones left at the scene.

There is a movement in the Georgia Legislature to repeal this government intrusion, so call your state representative and tell him to get on board, because you haven't done anything wrong and you are not a criminal.

Trent Oneill, Evans, Ga.