Registering Identity


A couple of bills caught my attention today. Both bills, under consideration by the Utah Legislature, deal with identity. The first, HB158 would require convicted sex offenders to renew their driver's license yearly. The idea is that while sex offenders are under no pressure to keep their data current in the state's online sex offender registry, they need a driver's license. The bill turns a manual process of checking into a more automatic process where renewing a driver's license updates the registry.

The second, HB429, places restrictions on the sale of components used to make meth. Anyone purchasing medicines like Sudafed that can be used to make meth would have to produce a photo ID and would only be allowed to buy 3.6 grams--about one box--per visit. The names and transaction details would be kept in an electronic file. The transaction file would be stored by the retailer, not the State.

HB158 uses identity to tie state-issued privileges to a desired action. I suspect it will be effective.

HB429 uses identity to record an action. Presumably the transaction data could be aggregated and used by law enforcement officials to find out who's buying too much, although as far as I can see, no provision in the bill does that or creates a system to do that. Seems to me that the rewards of making meth are certainly worth the risk of using false identity to fool the system. I'm no expert on meth production, but this bill seems to require a heavy price of everyone in terms of inconvenience and privacy with dubious return.