Fifteen states are giving drivers’ license images and data to the federal government, according to a new document released by The Intercept, providing another indication of how intertwined states governments have become with the federal surveillance state.
According to a PrivacySOS blog post, “Documents posted by The Intercept show that 22 percent of contributions to the [Directorate of Terrorist Identities] biometric database come from domestic law enforcement agencies in the United States: 13 percent from DHS, and 9 percent from the FBI.”
America’s illegal spying problem goes way beyond the NSA.
Revelations over the last year have spotlighted the nature of the NSA and its mass unconstitutional surveillance, but it is really only a part of the problem. Practically every agency of the federal government, from the FBI to the USPS, is involved in the destruction of the Fourth Amendment. And the feds are always eager to pull the states into the mix to support their efforts.
While this program is supposedly only being used to track people in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) database right now, it is not out of the realm of possibility that it can be extended to everyone in the very near future… if it hasn’t already.
To make matters worse, the FBI is creating a facial recognition database called the Next Generation Identification program. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the facial recognition system already contained 16 million images as of 2013 and could contain up to 52 million by next year.
These are incredibly troubling developments. While we cannot directly stop monolithic bureaucracies like the FBI or the NSA from gathering data, we can make it much more difficult for them to do so, and stop some of the practical effects through efforts at the state and local level.
States can prohibit their agencies from cooperating with federal spying and stop the sharing of information that will violate its peoples’ privacy. The Fourth Amendment Protection Act does just that, ending all material support with agencies like the NSA that continue to engage in warrantless surveillance. If passed in your state, it would end biometric data sharing with any agency violating the Fourth Amendment.
The feds partner with state and local governments on pretty much everything that they do. Without state cooperation, it becomes difficult for federal agencies to function. This is their Achilles Heel and they absolutely do not want activists to understand and fully exploit that weakness.
We can make it much more difficult for the feds to fill their national databases with our personal information by withdrawing our consent. It is the first step toward the complete removal of the surveillance state from our lives, once and for all.