Coming soon to West Seattle: “Enhanced” driver licenses

This Tacoma News-Tribune article reminds us that West Seattle’s Department of Licensing office will soon be one of only 11 in the state (full list here) where you can get the new “enhanced” driver licenses and ID cards that can get you into and out of Canada by land or sea. They’re supposed to be available starting January 22nd, and you’ll have to make an appointment if you want to get one. The state DOL website has a sheaf of info about how these new licenses/cards work.

12 Replies to "Coming soon to West Seattle: "Enhanced" driver licenses"

  • Sue December 26, 2007 (7:01 am)

    Thanks for mentioning this – it’s the first I’d heard of it. We were just up in Canada last week and had to provide passports and licenses, so it would definitely be easier to have only one.

  • Kayleigh December 26, 2007 (8:43 am)

    Sounds like another way for the government to track your whereabouts. No thank you.

    Spoken from someone who is on the “Selectee List” at the airport.

  • MJD December 26, 2007 (1:39 pm)

    I few years back I worked at the border and had to trek into Canada on a daily basis, I think this is a great idea. Especially since U.S. Customs is more stringent on passports.

  • mrsB December 26, 2007 (2:02 pm)

    I agree with Sue and MJD – safer and easier than having to carry a passport – and Kayleigh, why do you think the EDL is any different than a passport for the government to use in tracking your whereabouts!

  • coffee geek December 26, 2007 (3:23 pm)

    We’re planing on the NEXUS pass for next summer’s mountain biking season….even speedier thru the border crossings.

  • Sue December 26, 2007 (7:32 pm)

    I’m sure the government already has many other ways to track me. Like when I crossed over from Canada, had to stop so they could take a photo of the car (and presumably me), and then had them swipe my passport into something. If I’m not doing something wrong, I really don’t care who knows where I am.

  • Kayleigh December 26, 2007 (7:47 pm)

    Mrs. B, did you read the article? Did you read it’s tracked via a computer chip?

    Have you been singled out for extra security at the airport? Have you been handed a letter that says “you are deemed a threat to national security”? Because I have.

  • mrsB December 26, 2007 (9:07 pm)

    Kayleigh – all newly issued passports have a computer chip embedded in them……you’re being tracked no matter what form of identification you use to cross the border.

  • Kayleigh December 27, 2007 (4:56 am)

    Last time I crossed the boarder, I didn’t need a passport; I had a birth certificate.

    Nice that some of you are willing to sacrifice freedom and privacy to save 15 minutes. I’m not.

  • Sue December 27, 2007 (8:19 am)

    Kayleigh, I can certainly understand your distrust given the situations you’ve experienced – I’m sure no words can describe what that is like, and I’m sorry it has happened to you.

  • MJD December 27, 2007 (8:57 am)

    Passports will be required within the next year to return into the US. (Although DHS has been pushing this date back over the past year.) Hope you aren’t planning any international travel in the future!

    (link to CBP page.)

  • Doug Klunder January 2, 2008 (8:51 am)

    I know I’m jumping in late, but since I’m both a West Seattle resident and work on this issue professionally (as the Privacy Project Director for the ACLU of Washington), I figured it’s worth the late comment.

    The fear about tracking has nothing to do with border crossings — as Sue points out, that information is already tracked. The problem is that the RFID chip in the enhanced driver’s license will allow people to be tracked away from the border, by both government and private users (e.g., retailers). In essence, the driver’s license will broadcast a unique identifier to anybody who cares to read it, with a range of 20 feet. And the key difference between this and the passport, mrsB, is that the passport has a variety of security mechanisms to prevent tracking — unlike the enhanced driver’s license. The *only* protection for the enhanced driver’s license is if the driver keeps the license in a metallic sleeve all the time (except when crossing the border). If not, it is quite possible for a retailer to scan your license whenever you walk into a store, look at certain items, check out, etc., all without your knowledge.

    Take a look at this fact sheet for more information.

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