REAL ID: Coming Soon, and Supposedly More Secure
The article below fails to explain how REAL ID ( a de facto national ID card) will be safer than the existing system, or how it will prevent people for applying for multiple drivers' licences. As it stands, one must surrender an existing license when getting a new one; if we're talking about fake IDs, then there's nothing to prevent an applicant from applying for REAL IDs in different states.
The main concern, though, is one of data security. Government agencies have a horrible record on this, as recent events bear out. The more widely they share data, the more likely that their butterfingered security measures will fail across the various points of contact: they try, but they're just not very good at it. REAL ID makes my identity more vulnerable to tampering, not less.
The Homeland Security Department has spent years crafting the final regulations for the REAL ID Act, a law designed to make it harder for terrorists, illegal immigrants and con artists to get government-issued identification. The effort once envisioned to take effect in 2008 has been pushed back in the hopes of winning over skeptical state officials.
Even with more time, more federal help and technical advances, REAL ID still faces stiff opposition from civil liberties groups.
To address some of those concerns, the government now plans to phase in a secure ID initiative that Congress passed into law in 2005. Now, DHS plans a key deadline in 2011 -- when federal authorities hope all states will be in compliance -- and then further measures to be enacted three years later, according to congressional staffers who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an announcement had not yet been made. DHS officials briefed legislative aides on the details late Thursday.
Without discussing details, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff promoted the final rules for REAL ID during a meeting Thursday with an advisory council.