Maine's secretary of state says his agency isn't going to let federal agents have open-ended access to a new identification database.
Effective this month, Maine residents are now able to get a driver's license or identification card that's compliant with Real ID. Congress passed the federal Real ID law after the 2001 terrorist attacks to strengthen rules for government-sanctioned identification.
The Washington Post and New York Times revealed Monday that FBI and ICE agents were using the databases to gather widespread information in certain states. It has prompted concerns from activists and lawmakers from Maine to Arizona who are worried about the broad scope of authority some states are giving the feds.
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says the Pine Tree State will not join other states that allow federal law enforcement agencies to conduct broad facial recognition searches as part of investigations. Such agencies would instead need approval from Dunlap's enforcement division.
Dunlap says his office will work with law enforcement, but it's not going to "let them go on a fishing expedition."
"I can't imagine a scenario where we'd give a data set to an agency for cursory review," said Dunlap. "I haven't read the New York Times or Washington Post articles that talk about the states allowing this and I don't know what they're allowing or how it’s being accessed. We would never allow that."