Real ID Act could make one feel like a prisoner in America
By Brent Daggett
Contributing writer for End the Lie
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark. In the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all, do not let the hero in your soul perish and leave only frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours,” Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged.
Not even Rand or science fiction writers could have really predicted what our nation would become, ultimately causing our fire to slowly be extinguished.
With the recent rise of TSA VIPR teams, drones, Homeland Security pamphlets (which reveal who allegedly is a terrorist based on some incredibly frivolous assumptions) and laws that have increased the government’s ability to track individuals on a whim without probable cause, it seems to me all these are leading to the mechanical hound in Fahrenheit 451.
On July 1, residents of Georgia will have new driver’s licenses requirements that will be in accordance of the Real ID Act of 2005.
According to Georgia’s Department of Driver Services these are the new conditions:
- “You must visit a Customer Service Center in person on your first renewal, reinstatement or first issuance beginning July 1, 2012;
- You must provide an original or certified copy of your Birth Certificate or other proof of identity, and proof U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the United States;
- You must provide your Social Security Card or other proof of full SSN. Previously, DDS was allowed to simply ask you for your SSN; and
- You must provide two different proofs of your residential address. Previously, DDS only required one proof of your residential address for your 1st DL or ID card.
- Additional documentation to verify lawful presence in the United States may be required if you are a non-citizen.
- Additional documentation may be required if you have had a legal name change.”
The aforementioned may seem reasonable, but there is more than meets the eye.
You are probably now wondering what the Real ID Act really is.
The Real ID Act failed to pass in 2004, however, the legislation was tacked on to the 2005 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, the Global War on Terror and Tsunami Relief, leading to its eventual passage.
“TITLE II–IMPROVED SECURITY FOR DRIVERS’ LICENSES AND PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION CARDS
SEC. 201. DEFINITIONS.
In this title, the following definitions apply:
(1) DRIVER’S LICENSE- The term `driver’s license’ means a motor vehicle operator’s license, as defined in section 30301 of title 49, United States Code.
(2) IDENTIFICATION CARD- The term `identification card’ means a personal identification card, as defined in section 1028(d) of title 18, United States Code, issued by a State.
(3) OFFICIAL PURPOSE- The term `official purpose’ includes but is not limited to accessing Federal facilities, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, entering nuclear power plants, and any other purposes that the Secretary shall determine.
(4) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary’ means the Secretary of Homeland Security.
(5) STATE- The term `State’ means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United States.
SEC. 202. MINIMUM DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS AND ISSUANCE STANDARDS FOR FEDERAL RECOGNITION.
(a) Minimum Standards for Federal Use-
(1) IN GENERAL- Beginning 3 years after the date of the enactment of this division, 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.
(2) STATE CERTIFICATIONS- The Secretary shall determine whether a State is meeting the requirements of this section based on certifications made by the State to the Secretary. Such certifications shall be made at such times and in such manner as the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation, may prescribe by regulation.
(b) Minimum Document Requirements- To meet the requirements of this section, a State shall include, at a minimum, the following information and features on each driver’s license and identification card issued to a person by the State:
(1) The person’s full legal name.
(2) The person’s date of birth.
(3) The person’s gender.
(4) The person’s driver’s license or identification card number.
(5) A digital photograph of the person.
(6) The person’s address of principle residence.
(7) The person’s signature.
(8) Physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes.
(9) A common machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements (bolded for emphasis).
(c) Minimum Issuance Standards-
(1) IN GENERAL- To meet the requirements of this section, a State shall require, at a minimum, presentation and verification of the following information before issuing a driver’s license or identification card to a person:
(A) A photo identity document, except that a non-photo identity document is acceptable if it includes both the person’s full legal name and date of birth.
(B) Documentation showing the person’s date of birth.
(C) Proof of the person’s social security account number or verification that the person is not eligible for a social security account number.
(D) Documentation showing the person’s name and address of principal residence.
(2) SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS-
(A) IN GENERAL- To meet the requirements of this section, a State shall comply with the minimum standards of this paragraph.
(B) EVIDENCE OF LAWFUL STATUS- A State shall require, before issuing a driver’s license or identification card to a person, valid documentary evidence that the person–
(i) is a citizen or national of the United States;
(ii) is an alien lawfully admitted for permanent or temporary residence in the United States;
(iii) has conditional permanent resident status in the United States;
(iv) has an approved application for asylum in the United States or has entered into the United States in refugee status;
(v) has a valid, unexpired nonimmigrant visa or nonimmigrant visa status for entry into the United States;
(vi) has a pending application for asylum in the United States;
(vii) has a pending or approved application for temporary protected status in the United States;
(viii) has approved deferred action status; or
(ix) has a pending application for adjustment of status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States or conditional permanent resident status in the United States.
(C) TEMPORARY DRIVERS’ LICENSES AND IDENTIFICATION CARDS-
(i) IN GENERAL- If a person presents evidence under any of clauses (v) through (ix) of subparagraph (B), the State may only issue a temporary driver’s license or temporary identification card to the person.
(ii) EXPIRATION DATE- A temporary driver’s license or temporary identification card issued pursuant to this subparagraph shall be valid only during the period of time of the applicant’s authorized stay in the United States or, if there is no definite end to the period of authorized stay, a period of one year.
(iii) DISPLAY OF EXPIRATION DATE- A temporary driver’s license or temporary identification card issued pursuant to this subparagraph shall clearly indicate that it is temporary and shall state the date on which it expires.
(iv) RENEWAL- A temporary driver’s license or temporary identification card issued pursuant to this subparagraph may be renewed only upon presentation of valid documentary evidence that the status by which the applicant qualified for the temporary driver’s license or temporary identification card has been extended by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
(3) VERIFICATION OF DOCUMENTS- To meet the requirements of this section, a State shall implement the following procedures:
(A) Before issuing a driver’s license or identification card to a person, the State shall verify, with the issuing agency, the issuance, validity, and completeness of each document required to be presented by the person under paragraph (1) or (2).
(B) The State shall not accept any foreign document, other than an official passport, to satisfy a requirement of paragraph (1) or (2).
(C) Not later than September 11, 2005, the State shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Secretary of Homeland Security to routinely utilize the automated system known as Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, as provided for by section 404 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 3009-664), to verify the legal presence status of a person, other than a United States citizen, applying for a driver’s license or identification card.
(d) Other Requirements- To meet the requirements of this section, a State shall adopt the following practices in the issuance of drivers’ licenses and identification cards:
(1) Employ technology to capture digital images of identity source documents so that the images can be retained in electronic storage in a transferable format.
(2) Retain paper copies of source documents for a minimum of 7 years or images of source documents presented for a minimum of 10 years.
(3) Subject each person applying for a driver’s license or identification card to mandatory facial image capture.
(4) Establish an effective procedure to confirm or verify a renewing applicant’s information.
(5) 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.
(6) 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.
(7) 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.
(8) Subject all persons authorized to manufacture or produce drivers’ licenses and identification cards to appropriate security clearance requirements.
(9) Establish fraudulent document recognition training programs for appropriate employees engaged in the issuance of drivers’ licenses and identification cards.
(10) 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.
(11) In any case in which the State issues a driver’s license or identification card that does not satisfy the requirements of this section, ensure that such license or identification card–
(A) clearly states on its face that it may not be accepted by any Federal agency for federal identification or any other official purpose; and
(B) uses a unique design or color indicator to alert Federal agency and other law enforcement personnel that it may not be accepted for any such purpose.
(12) Provide electronic access to all other States to information contained in the motor vehicle database of the State.
(13) Maintain a State motor vehicle database that contains, at a minimum–
(A) all data fields printed on drivers’ licenses and identification cards issued by the State; and
(B) motor vehicle drivers’ histories, including motor vehicle violations, suspensions, and points on licenses.
SEC. 203. TRAFFICKING IN AUTHENTICATION FEATURES FOR USE IN FALSE IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS.
(a) Criminal Penalty- Section 1028(a)(8) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking `false authentication features’ and inserting `false or actual authentication features’.
(b) Use of False Driver’s License at Airports-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall enter, into the appropriate aviation security screening database, appropriate information regarding any person convicted of using a false driver’s license at an airport (as such term is defined in section 40102 of title 49, United States Code).
(2) FALSE DEFINED- In this subsection, the term `false’ has the same meaning such term has under section 1028(d) of title 18, United States Code.
SEC. 204. GRANTS TO STATES.
(a) In General- The Secretary may make grants to a State to assist the State in conforming to the minimum standards set forth in this title.
(b) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2009 such sums as may be necessary to carry out this title.
SEC. 205. AUTHORITY.
(a) Participation of Secretary of Transportation and States- All authority to issue regulations, set standards, and issue grants under this title shall be carried out by the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation and the States.
(b) Extensions of Deadlines- The Secretary may grant to a State an extension of time to meet the requirements of section 202(a)(1) if the State provides adequate justification for noncompliance.
SEC. 206. REPEAL.
Section 7212 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-458) is repealed.
SEC. 207. LIMITATION ON STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this title shall be construed to affect the authorities or responsibilities of the Secretary of Transportation or the States under chapter 303 of title 49, United States Code.”
Let’s now look into the ramifications of Real ID.
A site realnightmare.org, which is in opposition to Real ID, illustrates the seven things wrong with the act:
- “It’s a national identity system. The standardized national driver’s licenses created by Real ID would become a key part of a system of identity papers, databases, status and identity checks and access control points – an “internal passport” that will increasingly be used to track and control individuals’ movements and activities.
- Will not be effective against terrorism. The fact is, identity-based security is not an effective way to stop terrorism. ID documents do not reveal anything about evil intent – and even if they did, determined terrorists will always be able to obtain fraudulent documents (either counterfeit or real documents bought from corrupt officials).
- Will be a nightmare for state governments. Real ID requires state governments to remake their driver’s licenses, restructure many of their computer databases and other systems, create an extensive new document-storage system, and – perhaps most difficult of all – verify the “issuance, validity and completeness” of every document presented at DMVs. See Real Burdens.
- Will mean higher fees, long lines, and bureaucratic nightmares for individuals. Because Congress ordered but did not pay for these mandates, which will cost states billions of dollars, fees on individuals applying for driver’s licenses will inevitably rise, perhaps steeply. Individuals are also likely to confront slower service, longer lines, and frequent bureaucratic snafus in obtaining these ID cards. Many unlucky individuals will find themselves caught in a bureaucratic nightmare as they run up against the complexities of this law.
- Increased security and ID-theft risks. The creation of a single interlinked database as well as the requirement that each DMV store copies of every birth certificate and other documents presented to it will create a one-stop shop for identity thieves.
- Will be exploited by the private sector to invade privacy. Real ID would make it easy for anybody in private industry to snap up the data on these IDs. Already, bars often swipe licenses to collect personal data on customers – but that will prove to be just the tip of the iceberg as every convenience store learns to grab that data and sell it to data companies for a dime.
- Will expand over time. The Real ID database will inevitably, over time, become the repository for more and more data on individuals, and will be drawn on for an ever-wider set of purposes. Its standardized machine-readable interface will drive its integration into an ever-growing network of identity checks and access control points – each of which will create new data trails that will in turn be linked to that central database or its private-sector shadow equivalent.”
It’s also important to note while the act does not directly change driver’s licenses, “instead it threatens the states by stating that the federal government will not accept their citizens’ IDs unless the states change their laws,” (bold added for emphasis).
Yep that’s right, one could be treated like a slave if state governments don’t submit to the federal government’s overreaching authority.
As reported by American Financial Services Association, here is a state by state account.
Before looking into each state, it is important to note AFSA also reports all the pending legislation is from 2009 and the bills from 2007 as well as 2008 have been enacted.
However, there are politicians that are already expressing their concerns with the Real ID Act.
On February 1, 2012 representative Justin Amash (R-MI) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano regarding the evasive components of how drivers licenses could be equipped with RFID technology. The letter can be read on Rep. Amash’s official website.
“Dear Secretary Napolitano:
I urge you to reverse the Department of Homeland Security’s requirement that enhanced driver’s licenses include vicinity radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. I specifically ask the Department to cease demanding that Michigan include RFID chips in its enhanced driver’s licenses.
I have been informed that the RFID chips in these driver’s licenses would contain unique numbers that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers could scan from 20 to 30 feet away. These numbers would allow CBP to identify all of the occupants within a vehicle with one scan.
I am deeply concerned about the privacy implications of mandatory RFIDs in driver’s licenses. The chips would give public and private entities an unprecedented ability to track Americans. RFIDs can be read using widely available technology, including technology contained in mobile phones, which increases the risk of identity theft. Furthermore, if RFIDs were to become ubiquitous, there is little doubt that private entities would deploy new technology to capture the chips’ data.
Congress never has required RFIDs to be installed in driver’s licenses. Current federal law states only that “standards for common machine-readable identity information [are] to be included on each driver’s license or personal identification card, including defined minimum data elements.” This mandate could be satisfied by issuing driver’s licenses with magnetic strips, for example.
The people of Michigan oppose the new requirement. The Michigan state House and Senate each unanimously approved a resolution calling on DHS to address privacy concerns related to the federal mandate. And Michigan’s Secretary of State has asked the Department for the flexibility to issue secure driver’s licenses without RFIDs.
I believe we can find a solution that both satisfies federal law and protects our civil liberties. Please work with Michigan officials to adopt an alternative to mandatory RFIDs.
Member of Congress“
As Albert Einstein once said, “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”