Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) urged Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano to reverse a new policy that requires some states to implant radio frequency identification (RFID) chips into the states' driver's licenses. The chips allow Customs and Border Protection officers to scan an entire vehicle from up to 30 feet away in order to identify the vehicle's occupants.
"The chips would give public and private entities an unprecedented ability to track Americans," wrote Amash. "RFIDs can be read using widely available technology, including technology contained in mobile phones, which increases the risk of identity theft. Furthermore, if RFIDs were to become ubiquitous, there is little doubt that private entities would deploy new technology to capture the chips' data."
Michigan is one of the states subject to the DHS mandate. The Michigan state House and Senate each unanimously approved a resolution calling on DHS to address privacy concerns related to the mandate, and Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has asked the Department for the flexibility to issue secure driver's licenses without RFIDs. Amash also is working closely with state Rep. Paul Opsommer on the issue.