The project in North Carolina has already helped nab at least one suspect. Agents are eager to look for more criminals and possibly to expand the effort nationwide. But privacy advocates worry that the method allows authorities to track people who have done nothing wrong.
"Everybody's participating, essentially, in a virtual lineup by getting a driver's license," said Christopher Calabrese, an attorney who focuses on privacy issues at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Calabrese said Americans should be concerned about how their driver's licenses are being used.
Licenses "started as a permission to drive," he said. "Now you need them to open a bank account. You need them to be identified everywhere. And suddenly they're becoming the de facto law enforcement database."
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