April 6, 2011

Lawmakers, MCLU: ID law invades privacy

By Susan M. Cover scover@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

AUGUSTA — Republicans, Democrats and the only independent in the Maine House are backing a renewed effort to repeal a federal identification program that some consider too invasive.

Rep. Ben Chipman, a Portland independent, is sponsoring LD 1068, "An Act to Protect the Privacy of Maine Residents under the Driver's License Laws," which repeals parts of Maine law that comply with the 2005 Real ID Act.

The Maine Civil Liberties Union held a State House press conference on the topic today, saying it wants to urge full federal repeal of the law.

"Having to undergo a retinal scan or facial recognition screening to get a driver's license is like something out of a bad science fiction movie," said Alysia Melnick, public policy counsel for the MCLU.

Chipman was joined at the press conference by Rep. Richard Cebra, R-Naples, Rep. Mike Carey, D-Lewiston, and former Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.

In a statement, Gov. Paul LePage's press secretary Adrienne Bennett said the governor looks forward to working with privacy advocates and lawmakers on the issue.

"Gov. LePage has a strong interest in protecting the privacy of Maine people," she said.

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