Real ID

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Have you heard about the Real ID Act yet? If you think it's an inoccuous measure tighten driver's license standards - and, allegedly, to hinder terrorists - keep reading. Declan McCullagh of c|net writes in "FAQ: How Real ID Will Affect You" that, when the law takes effect in three years:

"If you live or work in the United States, you'll need a federally approved ID card to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments, or take advantage of nearly any government service. Practically speaking, your driver's license likely will have to be reissued to meet federal standards."

Bruce Schneier demolishes the rationale behind the "Real ID" Act in Schneier on Security, noting that "It's a huge power-grab by the federal government over the states' systems for issuing driver's licenses."

"Real ID" is about much more than federal mandates about state driver's licenses, however. As with the "Papers, Please" case from last year, our government is gradually turning this nation into the type of country we once ridiculed. "Real ID" is being pushed through Congress like other questionable legislation has been, using stealth when possible and fear when necessary. Schneier talks about the silence surrounding "Real ID," which the House has already passed, and which the Senate is scheduled to vote on tomorrow:

"If you haven't heard much about REAL ID in the newspapers, that's not an accident. The politics of REAL ID is almost surreal. It was voted down last fall, but has been reintroduced and attached to legislation that funds military actions in Iraq. This is a 'must-pass' piece of legislation, which means that there has been no debate on REAL ID. No hearings, no debates in committees, no debates on the floor. Nothing."

Visit UnRealID for more of the depressing details.

UPDATE: Wired News provides a summary of the Act's provisions:

"The legislation would require all drivers, including current license holders, to provide multiple documents to verify their identity before they could obtain a license or renew one. Drivers would have to provide four types of documentation, such as a photo ID, a birth certificate, proof that their Social Security number is legitimate and something that verifies the applicant's full home address, such as a utility bill. The law would then compel Department of Motor Vehicle employees to verify the documents against federal databases and store the documents and a digital photo of the card holder in a database."

Do you trust your state's DMV with all that information?

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on May 9, 2005 1:53 PM.

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