Real ID - New Driver's Licenses Required by Law
Real ID - Driver's Licenses
Posted by Adam Hayes
Well are you ready for a new driver's license? A new law that is known as the Real ID Act of 2005 has just passed the U.S. Senate. This new law requires that states standardize their driver's licenses or identification cards and make them machine readable by May 2008. The law states:
"Beginning 3 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, a Federal agency may not accept, for any official purpose, a driver's license or identification card issued by a State to any person unless the State is meeting the requirements of this section."
This really means that you will need these cards if you want to fly or enter any federal building that requires an i.d.
New Card Requirements
The cards will require the following:
- The person's full legal name.
- The person's date of birth.
- The person's gender.
- The person's driver's license or identification card number.
- A digital photograph of the person.
- The person's address of principle residence. (Note that this is an actual physical address, not a p.o. box)
- The person's signature.
- Physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes.
- A common machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements.
Now you are saying to yourself, so what. Most of these are on my current driver's license. Well keep reading, we are just getting warmed up.
Other State Requirements
Here are some other things that the state will be required to do:
- Employ technology to capture digital images of identity source documents so that the images can be retained in electronic storage in a transferable format.
- Retain paper copies of source documents for a minimum of 7 years or images of source documents presented for a minimum of 10 years. (This means that the phone bill you took in to prove your address will be in their systems for between 7 and 10 years depending on if they scan it digitally or keep a hard copy)
- Subject each person applying for a driver's license or identification card to mandatory facial image capture.
- Establish an effective procedure to confirm or verify a renewing applicant's information.
- Confirm with the Social Security Administration a social security account number presented by a person using the full social security account number. In the event that a social security account number is already registered to or associated with another person to which any State has issued a driver's license or identification card, the State shall resolve the discrepancy and take appropriate action.
- Refuse to issue a driver's license or identification card to a person holding a driver's license issued by another State without confirmation that the person is terminating or has terminated the driver's license.
- Ensure the physical security of locations where drivers' licenses and identification cards are produced and the security of document materials and papers from which drivers' licenses and identification cards are produced.
- Subject all persons authorized to manufacture or produce drivers' licenses and identification cards to appropriate security clearance requirements.
- Establish fraudulent document recognition training programs for appropriate employees engaged in the issuance of drivers' licenses and identification cards.
- Limit the period of validity of all driver's licenses and identification cards that are not temporary to a period that does not exceed 8 years.
Now while I have read a number of complaints about this law, most of them express concerns about possible loopholes that the government could use to get a tighter grasp on its citizens. First, the "Physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes." could be anything from a holographic image in the plastic around the card to fingerprint copies to a remotely readable RFID chip. Secondly, the Real ID Act states: "A State shall participate in the interstate compact regarding sharing of driver license data, known as the `Driver License Agreement', in order to provide electronic access by a State to information contained in the motor vehicle databases of all other States." This will allow your information to be accessible to all states.
Now while UnRealID.com interprets this as the following "Real ID requires the states to link their databases together for the mutual sharing of data from these IDs. This is, in effect, a single seamless national database, available to all the states and to the federal government.", I'm not as much of a conspiracy theory type of guy. Surely this database would be a great target for anyone looking to wreak havoc and chaos. However, it would also be highly guarded (except for all of those government employees that would have access to everyone's records...).
Regardless, most of us will go on unaware of the recent changes, while a select group of others will be seeing "Big Brother" getting a firmer grip on our lives.
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