PC World has an interesting story about the privacy problems that President-Elect Obama will have to face, including REAL ID. The REAL ID Act was appended to a bill providing tsunami relief and military appropriations and passed with little debate and no hearings in 2005, though members of Congress called for hearings.
The Act mandates that state driver’s licenses and ID cards follow federal technical standards and verification procedures issued by the Department of Homeland Security, standards that even the federal government cannot meet. I believe the REAL ID system (pdf) creates a fundamentally flawed national identification system and the Act should be repealed. It is a waste to continue to spend Homeland Security funds on this national ID system. Numerous states have rejected the program.
From PC World:
Obama has made virtually no public comments about the initiative, which calls for driver’s licenses and other state-issued IDs to include digital photos and be readable by scanning devices. In addition, the one time that the Senate considered a Real ID funding issue during Obama’s tenure there, he didn’t cast a vote.
Meanwhile, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Obama’s choice to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, signed a bill in June barring her state from participating in the program. And during a Senate committee hearing last year, she said that complying with the rules would cost state governments a total of $11 billion. The DHS is responsible for implementing the Real ID rules. […]
Real ID has also become a bone of contention between the DHS and state governments that see it as an attempt to force unwanted standards down their throats while making them pay for the program. In addition to Arizona, states that have said they won’t participate include Arkansas, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Washington.
There’s no mandate that states issue Real ID cards. But eventually, all citizens will need IDs that comply with the requirements in order to board planes, enter federal buildings and receive federal benefits.