Daily Archives: 20 Jan 14

What Is Real ID?

English: Uncle Sam recruiting poster.

‘As of today, the Real ID Act—which will require all US IDs to meet minimum federal security standards—enters the first stage of its multi-year enforcement. That has a lot of people pretty nervous; whether legislators use the term or not, it smells an awful lot like a national ID card… In 2005, President Bush signed an $82 billion military spending bill, part of which went towards creating an electronically readable, federally approved standard for all American ID cards. Currently, each state’s ID card can be wholly different from one another; non-uniform ways of reading means that actually determining if the card is legitimate becomes nearly impossible beyond state lines. Real ID would end that confusion…

While you won’t be required to have it on you at all times or necessarily use it in any non-government-related capacity, the fact that we’ll now have a searchable database of virtually every American citizen could qualify Real ID as a national ID card.

That doesn’t mean that the US is going to turn into a police state overnight, or ever. But concerns do seem to be at least somewhat justified…

15 black sheep [states] are not yet Real ID compliant: Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Marianas, Oklahoma, and Washington State… So what happens to those states if they don’t comply? Their cards will be marked along with a statement that they’re not to be accepted by any federal agency. You also, again, won’t be able to board a plane or access federal services.

Could this be the extent of the government’s regulation on identification cards and their subsequent mass database? Sure! And that would be intrusive but understandable. If the NSA revelations of the last year are any indicator, though, Uncle Sam is going to do what he wants with as much information as he can possibly get. Real ID is just streamlining the process.’ (Gizmodo)