By Leisa Zigman I-Team Reporter
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KSDK) - Some Missouri state senators say the Department of Revenue is failing to protect your personal information when you renew your driver's license.
They say the state is sending your birth certificate and other personal data to a private company called MorphoTrust USA, which is a division of the French conglomerate, Safran.
A spokesperson with the Department of Revenue sent a statement saying, "Scanned images of peoples' documents are NOT sent to MorphoTrust USA. The contract with MorphoTrust stipulates that the basic information that's sent to the company and that's used to make the driver licenses and IDs is destroyed after the IDs are produced. The Department gets weekly reports noting that this action has been taken."
But State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R) 19th District, says recent testimony proved just the opposite and he added the state can't verify anything is destroyed.
Up until six months ago, when you went to renew your driver's license you had to show proof of ID like a birth certificate and electric bill. In December workers started scanning those documents. Whether some or all of those documents are sent to MorphoTrust remains in dispute.
All of this came to light over the past few weeks when gun owners going to renew their conceal carry permit were told the only way to get a new license was to have their information scanned.
In recent state hearings, officials with Missouri Highway Patrol admitted they sent the federal government 165,000 names of everyone in the state with a conceal carry permit. An agent with Social Security said he was conducting a criminal fraud investigation but said he destroyed the state data when he couldn't read it.
Sen. Schaefer said, "The sheer fact that this data was destroyed indicates this wasn't a criminal investigation but a fishing expedition to profile all conceal weapons holders in the state of Missouri." We asked, "Why Missouri? Do you know if they've gone after the same information in other states?"
Senator Schaefer said, "No, but I want to find out."
Amazingly, officials confirm a highway patrol staffer sent all of this private data on an encrypted disc by placing it in an envelope and sending it through the U.S. mail.
That is something Sen. Schaefer called "gross negligence."
In an effort to find the truth, members of the Senate Appropriations committee requested information from the Department of Revenue. DOR Sent over tens of thousands of documents in about 50 boxes.
It turns out the Department of Revenue was scanning records of everyone who had a conceal carry permit. That practice ended Tuesday when Governor Jay Nixon ordered it to stop.
But nothing has changed for people just trying to renew their driver's license.
DOR is sending your records to MorphoTrust USA. The company, which is owned by a French corporation, has a motto: To simplify, protect, and secure the lives of the American people.
When the company verifies your identity and issues your license your private information is supposed to be destroyed but according to Senator Schaefer, no one at the state level is verifying that.
"There is no one in the Department of Revenue responsible for making sure that happens. DOR said we know it's being destroyed. How? Somebody got a phone call," he said.
MorphoTrust's parent company is Safran, which specializes in retina scans and other forms of Identification. Many in Jefferson City want to know more about this company, how it operates, and proof that personal records of Missourians are being destroyed.
In another development we learned the Social Security Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives were working together to obtain a comprehensive list of everyone in Missouri with a concealed carry weapons permit. Click here to read the document.
A spokesperson for Governor Nixon's office said it is standard for one law enforcement agency to share data with another. During last weeks hearing officials stated, in the future any request for this type of information would be thoroughly vetted before it is released, if at all.
In the meantime, Sen. Schaefer says DOR could lose its funding by July if it doesn't stop scanning all documents.
No one from Safran returned our calls. We requested an interview with the new head of the Department of Revenue but did not hear back. Yesterday, Brian Long, who had been the head of the Department of Revenue, resigned.
We also requested an interview with Attorney General Chris Koster, but did not hear back. A spokesperson for Governor Jay Nixon's office said the Governor would be available for a few minutes after an event Tuesday.
We requested a sit down interview but the Governor's schedule could not accommodate that. We will continue to ask for an interview with the Governor.
Earlier this year, a Stoddard County man filed a lawsuit against a Department of Revenue license fee office, arguing that state officials had violated his privacy by scanning documents.
So what do you think? Weigh in by calling Gov. Nixon's office at 573-751-3222 or Sen. Schaefer's officeat 573-751-4320.