The battle over IDNYC data has begun.
Staten Island Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Ron Castorina called a news conference Monday to say they’ve “commenced legal action” to preserve application information from IDNYC card users, information that Mayor de Blasio said could be destroyed in order to protect residents.
The fate of the data has become a controversial subject since Donald Trump pledged to drive out illegal immigrants -- and that information could provide some leads. The city-issued ID cards are designed to help undocumented immigrants do such things as open bank accounts and obtain library cards.
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The legislators filed for an injunction to prevent the NYC Human Resources Administration, which administers the IDNYC municipal identification program, from destroying the encrypted files on account that it violates the state’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).
“It is unconscionable that the City of New York would distribute nearly 900,000 identification cards, then destroy all the documents applicants used to apply for those cards. This data could be helpful in the future to investigate a crime perpetrated with the use of an IDNYC card,” Malliotakis stated at the news conference outside Richmond County Supreme Court on Dec. 5.
Written into the legislative code for the IDNYC program is a provision that allows for the agency to decide the necessity of retaining the records on or before December 31.
The assemblymembers also suggestthat because"The9/11 Commission Report" found that some of the terrorists obtained fraudulent IDs, and because the commissionrecommended stringent standards for issuing birth certificates and driver’s licenses, that the city’s ID program is enabling fraud.
The Office of the Mayor responded strongly to the allegations that IDNYC supports dangerous people.
“The safety of New Yorkers is City Hall’s top priority, and that includes safeguarding the privacy and security of IDNYC cardholder data. Claims that IDNYC is being used by those intending serious harm is reckless fear-mongering – the IDNYC application process is similar to DMVs across the country, highly trained staff use state of the art technology to identify instances of fraud,” de Blasio spokesperson Rosemary Boeglin said.
Boeglin made clear that “IDNYC cannot be used to obtain a driver’s license, board a plane, or cross a border” or to obtain other official documents such as a passport.
The mayor also addressed the topic at an unrelated press conference on Monday.
“If you look at the original legislation, which is the law of this city, it was quite clear that … we were not going to allow ourselves to be in a situation where those records would be turned over to the federal government. The whole ID – the whole idea, excuse me, of IDNYC was to give people an opportunity in this city to live a better life for themselves and their families, to have a deeper connection to the city and the city government. That they could go visit a loved one in the hospital, they could go visit their child’s teacher, that if they had an interaction with a police officer there was an ID recognized by the NYPD,” the mayor said.
“…the reason people were willing to trust us is we made very clear that there would never be a situation where it would lead to their deportation, and we’re going to keep that pledge, and it’s also part of our law. It’s quite clearly stated in the legislation, so we will follow through on that," he said.