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1/1/2007 - January 2007 - Real ID Act of 2005

Real ID Act of 2005


            On May 11, 2005, President George W. Bush signed into law the "Real ID Act of 2005."  The bill had failed to move, but was attached to an appropriations act and passed with little fanfare.  Many claimed it is necessary to protect our national security, while others are concerned with big brother's attention to us individually.  The law will go into effect on May 11, 2008.


            Driver's licenses are issued by states.  That practice may continue, but after the effective date, if the state driver's license does not meet federal requirements, a person may have identity problems outside his home state and at such places as airports and banks, collecting Social Security, or taking advantage of nearly any government service. 


            The card itself is not obnoxious and requires a person's name, date of birth, sex, a license number, digital photo, residence address, signature, anti-tampering features and machine-readable technology.  In order to obtain the card a person must prove he is a United States citizen or legally present in the U.S.   You will likely receive the card as your driver's license.


            All states will link databases so that information will be readily available.  Many call this a "national identification card."  Having electronic identity features, this would permit a person to be tracked anywhere in the country and probably most places in the world.  Many fear this as an encroachment on individual liberty.  Others argue it is necessary in a security conscious world threatened with increasing terrorism.  The obvious benefit is that you can identify yourself and not be mistaken for others.  SLI has provided assistance to those in the past who have objected to using their Social Security number for ID purposes.  Workable solutions were found, but that was before the days of terrorism.


            Many will see this as the big brother from 1984, having arrived a little bit late perhaps.  The intricate networking of computers, particularly in the credit industry, has already essentially identified who we are and where we are at all times.  Unfortunately, the credit industry is basically unregulated with federal laws that are extremely onerous to use and provide little protection to the consumer. 


            There are other provisions in this Act, such as, dealing with the construction of border barriers, asylum and deportation of aliens for terrorist activity, and jurisdiction of these types issues between the Attorney General and the Department of Homeland Security.  These provisions of the bill may not concern us so much as those of ID requirements.  We will monitor this Act as the effective date approaches.  There has been little attention to it.  We solicit any input our readers may have. 


            The ACLU and People for the American Way opposed the Act.  Eagle Forum and National Review supported the Act and see it as nothing more than setting minimum standards for driver's licenses, with a national security twist.

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