What price, Real ID?

What price, Real ID?

Summary: Declan McCullagh has a detailed piece on the Real ID legislation that just passed the US House. The legislation would effectively force the States to meet certain requirements if they expect their driver's licenses to be used as IDs for federal purposes--like getting on an airplane.

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TOPICS: Legal
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Declan McCullagh has a detailed piece on the Real ID legislation that just passed the US House. The legislation would effectively force the States to meet certain requirements if they expect their driver's licenses to be used as IDs for federal purposes--like getting on an airplane. I've been watching for this every since I was CIO for Utah. This is a big step for the U.S. because it creates what amounts to the first national ID card system.

Opponents are quick to point out the privacy concerns--and there are plenty. Also, there is always some sensitivity to Congress creating "unfunded mandates" for the States. I have to admit, the privacy concerns scare me, but having seen the sausage being made, as it were, I also see the logic behind the action.

The identity system we use as the basis for commercial activity and the lynchpin of our national security apparatus relies, for the most part, on the driver's license. At the same time, every director of a state driver's license bureau I've ever asked has adamantly denied being in the ID business. That fundamental disconnect creates most of the issues that Congress is trying to address. If all you're doing is licensing people to drive, then you don't have to be very careful about making sure that the identity is right. After all, mostly what you're doing is certifying that a certain person (the one pictured) is allowed to drive.

If, on the other hand, you're authorizing that person to get on a commercial aircraft, enter a courthouse, and so on, you might want to be a little more careful. Many states don't even check birth certificates when issuing driver's licenses because it's nearly impossible. If you move to Utah from South Carolina, what am I supposed to do, query South Carolina's public records? Not with the system we have now.

This change is going to have other repercussions in States that we haven't even begun to see. One thing that's bound to cause problems is that the blending of ID and driving authorizations will mean that many people who really should have driver's licenses won't. For example, one of the reasons given for this bill is the fact that many states, Utah's among them, issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Why? Because they will drive anyway and they can't get insurance if they don't have a license. The level of uninsured motorists will rise because of this bill. That's a price we'll all bear. Of course, we'll all be much safer when we fly. Won't we?

Topic: Legal

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  • Never thought out

    The ID system that we use everyday was never thought out very well. My SS card said "Not to be used for identification purposes" - yeah, like THAT was followed. If the "private sector" was more responsive, we wouldn't have the problems with ID fraud that we have now. Personally, I have ALWAYS lived and worked in Michigan. All of my addresses and phone numbers have always been here. When I checked my Equifax permanent address it listed a PO box in Colorado Springs. WHAT THE F???????? Hey, even a COMPUTER could see THAT wasn't right!!!!!! Its stupid companies like this that force the hand of the government - and we have seen the hand . . .
    Roger Ramjet
  • Of course, we'll all be much safer when we fly. Won't we?

    Suuuure we will.

    Everyone knows that letting Big Brother keep track of where you go and what you do will keep bad guys off airplanes. Everyone knows that harassing people at airports for having in their possession a -- gasp! -- tiny little pair of cuticle scissors makes us all so much safer!

    Rampant idiocy.
    Henry Miller
  • Government ID

    Like this is really going to help. Help create a new counterfeit market it will. Make the country more secure no way. I know a way we could make the country more secure though. Vote for someone who believes in freedom. The rulers we have now sure don?t.
    rhammock
  • Can anyone say....

    Your papers! You DO haff your papers, ja?
    Lordling