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REAL ID starts to become reality


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Chertoff to Announce National ID Standards

REAL ID Program Has Drawn Criticism From States, Privacy Groups

 

By JASON RYAN and PIERRE THOMAS

Jan. 11, 2007?

 

Following 9/11 commission recommendations aimed at rooting out potential terrorists, driver's license rules and procedures will be standardized across all 50 states, the Department of Homeland Security will announce today.

 

But the new plan is likely to anger many -- from states who will have to implement the costly changes to civil rights groups who charge the changes will invade individuals' privacy and make them more vulnerable to identity theft.

 

The program, called REAL ID, will require states to demand certain standards for individuals obtaining driver's licenses, including proof of citizenship and residency, instead of the typical date of birth and Social Security number.

 

States will also have to work together to make certain the applicants don't obtain multiple licenses. They'll also need to add security features into the license design in order to help stop counterfeiting.

 

U.S. citizens born after Dec. 1, 1964 will have to comply with the new guidelines by 2014. Individuals over the age of 50 would not have to comply, an exception designed to help states transition into the new plan.

 

Following a recommendation by the 9/11 commission that the United States standardize secure identification documents, Congress passed the REAL ID Act in May 2005.

 

The 19 9/11 hijackers had a combined 364 aliases, and 18 of those 19 hijackers had some form of fake identification -- including 17 with phony or illegally obtained driver's licenses.

 

In March 2007, when Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the initial proposals for the REAL ID system, he said, "The REAL ID Act aims to make it harder for dangerous people to obtain licenses fraudulently and to make it easier for law enforcement and counterterrorism authorities to detect documents that have already been falsified."

 

DHS has said individuals will be required to present a REAL ID-verified identification for boarding commercial airline flights, accessing a federal facilities and entering nuclear power plants. Obtaining a REAL ID approved license or identification card could impact millions of citizens who fly.

 

The initial proposals for the program required states to have applicants provide documentation for their name and date of birth, Social Security number and their address. Some states around the country have expressed concern about changing their current system of issuing driver's licenses because of costs.

 

Overall cost estimates for the REAL ID program nationwide range from $11 billion to $23 billion. The state of Maine has said that the program could cost its taxpayers $181 million to implement over the first five years. The Maine State Legislature passed a resolution, 171-4, urging the U.S. Congress to eliminate the REAL ID program; other legislation bars the Secretary of State from using any state funds for REAL ID efforts.

 

Besides the financial burden, wait times at local departments of motor vehicles are expected to increase. An impact analysis by the National Governors Association from 2006 noted, "To comply with the requirement that all [driver's licenses/identification] card holders re-verify their identity with the state, individuals must gather and present all their identification documents, which may more than double the length of time they spend at their DMVs."

 

DHS is asking that the states begin complying with the program by May 11, 2008, although some states will be eligible for extensions of deadlines.

 

Copyright ? 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

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Chances the REAL ID/National ID/whatever make us any safer: 0.

Exactly. It might just inconvenience people, like having to take off your shoes to get through security, even though odds are that will never be tried again.

 

Funny thing about the shoes. When I was coming back from Israel yesterday, someone in my Birthright group asked whether he had to take off his shoes at the security line at Ben-Gurion (the most secure airport in the world). The guard asked why, and he mentioned the "shoe bomber". The guard just laughed. If even Ben-Gurion is shrugging that off, I wonder what most Americans think about it.

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