Vermont issues IT-enhanced driver's licenses

Vermont has become the third state to begin issuing enhanced driver’s licenses with radio frequency tags that also serve as official identification cards at U.S. border crossing points. It did so under a program authorized by the Homeland Security Department.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles began accepting applications for the enhanced licenses on Feb. 18 through its Montpelier office. The new card is voluntary and costs $25 more than a standard license.

New York, Washington State and British Columbia in Canada offer similar licenses designed to comply with DHS’ Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which goes into effect in June. Officials in Arizona, Michigan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have indicated they intend to issue similar cards.

The enhanced drivers licenses have embedded radio frequency identification (RFID) chips that can be scanned at a distance of 20 to 30 feet at U.S. border crossings. The RFID chips n the licenses emit a reference number that must be checked against a DHS database to obtain personal information.

The card technology is strongly supported by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. In 2007, while governor of Arizona, she  proposed similar enhanced licenses for that state.

Napolitano said on Feb. 25 that enhanced licenses and other identification cards with RFID are valuable in easing the processing of people and traffic at the borders.

“The high-tech RFID system works in tandem with RFID-enabled documents such as passport cards, Customs and Border Protection’s trusted traveler programs, and enhanced driver’s licenses,” Napolitano said at a congressional hearing. “The technology expedites the travel of law-abiding border crossers and allows agents to focus on where they are most needed.”



About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Thu, Mar 5, 2009 Henwhisperer Enosburg Falls

Voluntary! ROTFLMAO! Voluntary like the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Listen people, resist all this stuff. If enough people would resist then the state would have no power over these overreaching mandates. Voluntary, yeah, until they change the word.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group