Friday, January 11, 2008

REAL ID.. REAL trouble?

I vaguely remember some discussion about the REAL ID but it didn't register on my radar screen... I thought it was in the discussion phase, did not realize it was "real." Boy did I miss one!

It seems that generally it is just a standardization of driver's licenses. I can understand why that's a good idea.

I can also understand why this is a tough one for many. While the government says it's not a national ID card and that they aren't going to gather info, this could very easily be construed as the first step (or the next step depending on your view point) to having that much-feared national ID.

It's also going to cost a chunk of change for state's to comply.

(According to a study conducted by NCSL, the National Governors Association and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the act will cost states more than $11 billion to implement over five years and will have a major impact on services to the public.
To date, Congress has appropriated only $90 million to assist states with implementation of the Real ID, of which only $6 million has been obligated. The President's FY 2007 and FY 2008 budget proposals did not include any funds to assist states with the implementation of the Real ID. -

Georgia is one of the states that has asked for a waiver. If granted the state's deadline for compliance may be extended to Dec. 31, 2009.

I can see a major mess on the horizon. Some states will comply, others will refuse, others will ask for a waiver. To travel we'll be required to have the ID unless a waiver has been granted. It's difficult enough already to get on an airplane due to all the extra security steps (which, if I had any confidence they worked wouldn't bother me). Can you imagine taxing the brain of those tasked with checking IDs at the airport?

Georgia is home to the Atlanta Airport. It's an international airport and usually lands at the top of the busiest airport list. What are the chances of it becoming the terrorist mecca for travel?

I'm all for security, I want to catch every single potential nasty who's out to hurt anyone. I lean toward thinking this is a good idea. However, I also think it's another one of those governmental unfunded mandates. Great idea. No money to make it work.

What do you want to bet that Dec. 31, 2009 becomes 2010, 2012, 2020... ?

I'll make one more observation. I wonder some days if we aren't on a slippery slope that's going to lead toward a loss of freedoms we'll regret handing over to the government someday. On the flip side, I like the idea of knowing I can walk in a crowded mall, go to my local church, flying to visit family or enjoy a game at a packed stadium without thinking about being blown up.

Here's a few links to some info floating around about it:

"The REAL ID Act requires that a REAL ID driver’s license be used for “official purposes,” as defined by DHS. In the proposed rule, DHS is proposing to limit the official purposes of a REAL ID license to those listed by Congress in the law: accessing a Federal facility; boarding Federally-regulated commercial aircraft; and entering nuclear power plants. DHS may consider expanding these official purposes through future rulemakings to maximize the security benefits of REAL ID."

Homeland Security
REAL ID Proposed Guidelines: Questions & Answers
What is REAL ID?
REAL ID is a nationwide effort intended to prevent terrorism, reduce fraud, and improve the reliability and accuracy of identification documents that State governments issue.

New ID rules may complicate air travel
WASHINGTON - Millions of air travelers may find going through airport security much more complicated this spring, as the Bush administration heads toward a showdown with state governments over post-Sept. 11 rules for new driver's licenses. By May, the dispute could leave millions of people unable to use their licenses to board planes, but privacy advocates called that a hollow threat by federal officials.

From Wikipedia:
The REAL ID Act of 2005 requires people entering federal buildings, boarding airplanes or opening bank accounts to present identification that has met certain security and authentication standards. The Act is Division B of an act of the United States Congress titled Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005. It implements the following:
Establishing national standards for state-issued driver's licenses and non-driver's identification cards;
Waiving laws that interfere with construction of physical barriers at the borders;
Updating and tightening the laws on application for asylum and deportation of aliens for terrorist activity;
Introducing rules covering "delivery bonds" (rather like bail bonds but for aliens who have been released pending hearings);
Funding some reports and pilot projects related to border security; and
Changing visa limits for temporary workers, nurses, and Australian citizens.

Real Nightmare
The Real ID Act of 2005 would turn our state driver’s licenses into a genuine national identity card and impose numerous new burdens on taxpayers, citizens, immigrants, and state governments – while doing nothing to protect against terrorism. As a result, it is stirring intense opposition from many groups across the political spectrum. This Web site provides information about opposing Real ID.

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