The Revenue Department has explained to a House Committee why its fee offices around the state are scanning personal informaiton provided by Missourians seeking drivers and non-drivers licenses and concealed carry endorsements.

Representative Jay Barnes (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Jay Barnes (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Department Director Brian Long says those scans are being made as part of an effort to “deter, detect and prosecute fraud.” Long testified that out of about 20,000 sets of documents obtained by the Department each week, about 50 are “spot checked” to look for evidence of fraud.

Long also says the scans are a deterrent.

“Individuals who are interested in fraudulently obtaining a Missouri I.D. are much less likely to approach that license clerk in that license office if they know that document they are proffering is going to be scanned and retained.”

Representative Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) says he’s not convinced that there is a security benefit from the Department making those scans.

“If the elimination of fraud is the primary justification, then scanning 50 a week out of 20,000, potentially … you’re looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Long assured the committee none of the information being scanned is being shared with the federal government.

Deputy Director John Mollenkamp explained the scanned information and other data related to licenses and endorsements is sent to state data center in Jefferson City. From there, a portion of it is sent to Morpho Trust, the company that prints licenses for the state.

Richard McIntosh, a lawyer hired last week by that company, testified that information is destroyed once the licenses are printed.

“They wanted me to let you all know they do take the matter very seriously, and they don’t share the data … and that was one of the concerns we were seeing in the papers this past week.”

Richardson says he has not seen or heard any evidence that the scanned information is being sent to the federal government, but he remains concerned about the Department retaining that data.

The Committee’s Chairman, Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) also thinks the retention issue is a problem.

“The Department keeping all of these source documents could actually lessen the security of the documents because if that information gets hacked, rather than a person having access on an individual basis through individual fee offices, all of a sudden they have access to a treasure trove of the source documents of every Missourian with a driver’s license, which is a very dangerous thing.”

Richardson presented to the committee his bill meant to clarify and strengthen Missouri law against scanning those source documents. He says based on what he heard at the hearing, he needs to make some additions to the language.