May 8, 2007 2:10 PM PDT

Congress rethinks the Real ID Act

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

Opposition is growing to a forthcoming digital ID card for American citizens, but it may be too late to make sweeping changes to the controversial identification requirements.

During a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) savaged the Real ID Act as an unwarranted intrusion into Americans' personal lives that a Republican-controlled Senate enacted two years ago without a single hearing or debate.

"Americans deeply value their privacy," said Leahy, who heads the influential Senate Judiciary committee. "Americans have traditionally recognized the danger of an overreaching government." He said Real ID will "effectively create a national ID card."

Leahy's hearing coincided with the last day to file comments with the Department of Homeland Security on its draft Real ID regulations, which were released on March 1. They drew immediate criticism for, among other things, requiring that drivers' home address and personal information be included in a two-dimensional barcode without encryption.

That means bars and banks and other businesses would face no technical obstacles when skimming and retaining those data. There is "nothing limiting the use of the Real ID card for this type of purpose," said Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat. Also, Homeland Security has not ruled out the use of mandatory radio frequency identification tags in the cards, which raises additional privacy concerns.

Enacted as part of an emergency Iraq war spending bill, the Real ID Act compels state governments to issue driver's licenses that follow national ID standards to be set by Homeland Security. Eventually, Americans without the federalized ID will not be able to use their state-issued ID to do things like open a bank account, enter federal buildings, or fly on a commercial airline. Homeland Security puts the total cost at $23.1 billion over 10 years.

That has sparked a kind of grassroots rebellion, with seven states so far enacting legislation opposing Real ID, according to the advocacy site (The list: Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado, Arkansas and Maine.) An additional 14 states have had one chamber of their legislature approve some sort of anti-Real ID measure and more have bills pending.

But because the federal law is already on the books and final regulations are nearly complete, Real ID opponents face a difficult task.

A split among conservatives
Three groups tend to be strong supporters of Real ID. National security aficionados claim secure IDs will stop terrorists from boarding commercial flights, and some businesses hope to secure some of that $23.1 billion in spending for themselves by selling compliance technology to motor vehicle departments. The most influential groups, however, are anti-immigration advocates who believe Real ID will stop the flow of illegal Mexican immigrants across the border.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican who was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in 2005, was the politician most responsible for inserting Real ID into the military spending bill, which also funded tsunami relief. In an editorial on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal criticized Real ID and dubbed Sensenbrenner's effort a "poll-driven election panic" designed to "placate noisy anti-immigration conservatives."

Related audio
CNET's tech politics podcast political reporter Declan McCullagh and editor Harry Fuller sort through the legal issues, the political pressure points and the likely short-term course of Real ID in the U.S.

Conservatives are split on Real ID. States like Idaho and Montana that have come out against the idea are hardly bastions of liberalism, and an anti-Real ID coalition includes People for the American Way and the National Center for Transgender Equality--but also Gun Owners of America and the Virginia Gun Owners Coalition.

During Tuesday's Senate hearing, James Carafano, a policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, defended Real ID.

"Adequate privacy protection can be implemented," Carafano said. "We can fairly implement this system in a reasonable timeline...There obviously is some security value in having national standards that credentials presented for a federal purpose must meet."

Janice Kephart, president of 9/11 Security Solutions, also praised the 2005 law. "Real ID does not invade privacy," Kephart said, adding that at least 23 state legislatures have bills supporting the measure and Kansas and Michigan have enacted them. "Real ID does not create a national ID card."

Kephart's inside-the-Beltway firm makes money by providing consulting services to government contractors "with special expertise in border security." Her Web site lists Northrop Grumman as a client.

For their part, Kephart and other proponents of the Real ID Act say it's designed to implement proposals suggested by the 9/11 Commission, which noted that some of the hijackers on September 11, 2001, had fraudulently obtained state driver's licenses. But not all did: At least one hijacker simply showed his foreign passport and walked onto the airplane that day.

CONTINUED: Revisiting Real ID…
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National ID?
I am not giving these SOBs any more control of my life.
Wide open boarders exists and they feel that they need an ID card? Close the boarders first!!
The illegal immigrants get pulled over by a policeman and the officer has to let them go without even a ticket. No arrest ever occurs for illegals. They are privileged residents. So what does this ID do? Does it help make us secure? Hell NO! It is only used to control and track US citizens. Illegals can open a bank account without any proof of residency or citizenship.
We need a damn finger print, SSN, Drivers license etc to open an account and now we will need a National ID? Hell NO!
Obviously the plan is to track and control US citizens not control airline access and not to make us safe. Just to tag and track us like animals. The elite leaders think that we are here to serve them and jump at their beck and call.
Posted by BattleAce7101 (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You hit the nail right on the head with that one.

Funny, isn't it? Republicans made a huge spectacle of
impeaching Clinton for lying under oath about whether or not he
was having an extramarital affair, then Bush takes office and we
ADMINISTRATION!!! So I guess it's OK for the government, in fact
the president himself, to lie through the teeth to the American
public just as long as he hasn't taken an oath. Guess that
explains why he's so against anyone in his administration from
ever appearing anywhere under oath!

If you ever find one of these pointless, security lacking means of
tracking and harrassing honest people in my possession, check
my pulse. I promise I'll be dead.
Posted by Dalkorian (3000 comments )
Link Flag
"secure" National ID DB *sheesh*
BattleAce7101, true, true this DB won't take into account everyone in the U.S. You have every right to be weary of these guys trying to pass the Real ID act.

The quote CNET pulls for the interview is from James Carafano from the conservative Heritage Foundation, defended Real ID. He said, "Adequate privacy protection can be implemented."

Well the U.S. Government's track record on securing sensitive data is terrible. Late last week Department of Homeland Security who'll be part of this Real ID act had its reporting organization the Transportation Security Administration loose a hard drive with 100,000 employees data <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Carafano saying the National ID DB can be secure? With all these "accidental" leaks, thefts and losses -- government security is just an oxymoron <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
Link Flag
I seriously thought about bringing my passport with me to the
MRI last time I had one just to screw up the RFID, if that could
do it.

What really bothers me is the Feds basicly taking over the State
ID and license programs. There is a clear seperation between
State and federal in our constitution. Lets keep it that way.
Tenth ammendment.

As for the boarder issue, We already have enough money being
spent in the middle east. Lets divert it to the southern boarder
and put up a 15 foot mine field, signs and audio alerts warnings
so we are not at fault. Have a fence on OUR side of that 15 foot
field so we don't have people injured from our country. Now tell
me that won't help solve the illegals from the southern side
getting over.

NeXT thing you know they will require us to have barcodes
tatooed on our hands for identification (so you can't leave home
without it!)

Are the Feds going to be exempt from this crazy ID? They love
to be exempt from what they push on us.
Posted by Travis Ernst (170 comments )
Reply Link Flag
An improved Identification system would help
there needs to be a new identification system. I was once mistaken for a person with the same name by the police and ended up waiting in the back of a police car for about a half hour while they figured out what was going on. I happened to be on my way to work.
Posted by Jeremy.sarkilahti (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You think that is bad?
having to explain it to your employer and maybe losing a little pay is notihng compared to the negatives a national ID would bring.

Show me your papers comrade.
Posted by MSSlayer (1074 comments )
Link Flag
Don't rethink it, repeal it.
There is no way to make this work without turning the US into a bigger police state.

Repeal it and tell Furor Bush to shove it!
Posted by MSSlayer (1074 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I can't agree more.......
The Real ID is just like everything else that "Furor Bush" has done [b][u]to[/u][/b] this Country. It's totally and completely [b][u]AGAINST[/u][/b] The Constitution as it was written by our Forefathers. They wrote it the way they did for darned [b][u]GOOD[/u][/b] REASON!!!

Read it here:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

As another poster mentioned, Clinton was impeached for [i]lying[/i] about an extamarital affair and ALL we've heard from THIS "[i]Administration[/i]" in the seven years of it's existence so far (and probably will until it ends) are a great big steaming pile of [b][u]LIES!!![/u][/b]

AND, remember, Bush did say: the Constitution is "just a g-d piece of paper!"

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Here's another link that may be of interest:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

And more:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Link Flag
a new system will not help
If you have been mistaken for another person now, how will a new system help?

I reckon existing data needs to be scrubbed for the new system. garbage in existing system will be garbage in the new one.

if they start from scratch, then the new system needs to be phased in over 10/20 years!. All kinds of exceptions and special cases will be introduced, rendering the system worthless (per stated goals) by the time it's fully implemented.
Posted by upuaut (212 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You Haff Your Paperss. Ja?
RealID amounts to an Internal Passport and, to be honest, a
national system that allows tracking of every citizen, on demand
simply by pulling the records from any system into which the
RealID Number has been entered.

According to the law, without a RealID, no citizen would be able
to enter a federal, state or local government building, including
a courthouse, nor would they be allowed to open a bank account
or to get on an airplane.

In other words, by enacting this law, the government has just, de
facto, taken control of the air travel industry (no valid ID, no
travel by air - sorry, pal!) and has denied any citizen who has
lost or had their ID stolen access to the courts or their duly
elected public officials - including the ones who can <i>replace
their ID!</i>

How stupid is <i>THAT?!</i>

So think hard about this one, folks. If you lose this precious
item, you no longer exist (except at tax time, of course!) to the
government, the travel industry or the banks (if you want to go
inside of a bank to, say, get a mortgage or to fix a foul up in
your accounts, that is!).

And you <i>WILL</i> have to present your paperss.

And they will contain information that you will <i>not</i> want
anyone but your doctor (for instance) to have.

SO kiss the "Land of the Free" goodbye because, if you don't
have your RealID, you can't go to the bank, visit ANY
government building (including museums, National Parks, State
capitols or to see your IRS auditor should you be called in for an
audit) or catch a plane OUT of here!

That whirring sound you hear beneath your feet is the sound of
the Founding Fathers, doing a perfect imitation of a high-speed
drill in their graves - along with every veteran who ever gave his
or her life to preserve these freedoms.

I just can't wait to see what happens the first time a
Congresscritter or, better yet, a Supreme Court Judge, tries to go
to work without his or her RealID.

THAT should be a lot of fun to watch! Because, under the law,
they would not be allowed access to their own offices!

Write your Congresscritter and get this law pulled! It is ill-
conceived and un-American.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Chicago, IL
Posted by mstrhypno (49 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just Don't Get One
Wonder what they will do if one refuses to update to one? If enough
people refuse, it should be interesting. If people stop traveling by
air, the airlines will raise hell about that.
Posted by Expat type (30 comments )
Link Flag
So eloquently stated!!!!!
You hit the nail SQUARE on it's Swastika shaped head!
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Link Flag
So eloquently stated!!!!!
You hit the nail SQUARE on it's Swastika shaped head!
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Link Flag
What is different today?
You enter an airport.
You must provide a valid picture id from a State or valid government issue. (Drivers license or passport photo id)

You want to open a bank account?

The only issue is that there are 50 state agencies and that they don't do enough of a background check upon issuing the license.

It seems to me that you've just jumped on the hype wagon.

How about this....
We interconnect all of the state ids and then we do a verification and validation of them. The end result is that you have a national id, only with 50 different states branding them.

When I fly or travel, I use my passport. Why? Because its easier to identify than individual state ids.

Think about it.
Posted by dargon19888 (412 comments )
Link Flag
Sen. Sununu is from NH, not ME
Posted by CyrylJ (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Thanks for pointing out the error
It has been corrected.
Posted by stevenmusil (82 comments )
Link Flag
National ID not all bad
In the military we use a Common Access Card (CAC). It has a photo on it has our photo, barcode and a chip (along w/ other privacy information that may not be best). It's encrypted and can be used instead of a password for everything. It also has a digital signature so you can prove who you are. It can only be accessed w/ a pin. We use software called active card gold and read the card via a CAC reader. Instead of physically signing credit card slips, checks, etc., use the CAC. It could be required for everything (proof of ID, credit card, bank account, etc). I personally think would work better than todays system. You can even set it up for status (citizen, resident alien, guest worker etc). Uncle Sam does not have the resources or the time to track everybody regardless of what you think. All this would do is better secure our id and rights as citizens.
Posted by Mortomer (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No it's not all bad
It's a great idea. ALL the totalitarian governments require them.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
Oh it truly is
You have no sense of history. If you did, you would
<b>immediately</b> realize the inherent dangers of extreme
abuse.<p>The real id act is, quite simply, a consolidation of power
through information. It is strong, absolute, and would affect every
man, woman, and child in this country. The Nazis used a similar
tactic, leading up to World War II.</p>
<b><i>I actually am really starting to hate stupid people, for
real.</i></b> They should not be allowed to vote.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
For those of you who don't know about the military
"Bootcamp" DIRECTLY brainwashes it's participant to be a [i]'good little follower/solder'[/i].

Poor Mortomer in his haste to GET '[i]benefits[/i}' FROM the "[i]gov[/i]" has given up his freedoms, both physical AND mental, in order to get said 'benefits' and has found himself fighting a war FOR [b]OIL[/b] for the Bush Oil Cartel. Therefore, we must consider the [b]actual[/b] source of his thought processes. ;)

Sorry to break it to you Morty, but YOU have [b]ALREADY[/b] been the victim of National ID along with each and every other person who is your COMRADE in every branch of the US Armed Services!

The '[i]gov[/i]' started with the Armed Services so they could force them to force the REST of us into obedience!!!

There was an article (I think it was in ZDNet or TechRepublic Government section) not long ago telling about the fact that the military has already been using Real ID for quite some time now. Sorry, but I didn't save the link so I can't provide it, but I would if I could.
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Link Flag
Oh well close up Buffalo Airport...
"Eventually, Americans without the federalized ID will not be able to ... fly on a commercial airline. "
BUF depends on the cross-border traffic to make it a viable alternative to YYZ. Expansion in recent years is *not* due to a boom in Buff-town, but frustration over Toronto's airport congestion and 30 minute terminal to runway rides. Someone better not be forgetting to make a "passport" valid to board a plane...

-A North American family since 1760...and still with family on both sides of the northern border...
Posted by caveat71 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Real ID WILL be in passports; if it's not already!

Those WITHOUT pasports will be the ones who get the [i]cards[/i].
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Link Flag
ID is not the problem
Social Security system is.

Right now a SSN can be -
- stolen and used to open accounts in someone else's name with very little effort

- spoofed and used to open accounts illegally

That's what needs to be rethought, is the now national requirement by businesses to defer to the SSN as an identifying piece of information, as well as a medium for extending credit. My driver's license isn't the problem as it doesn't really do anything but certify that I passed a written exam. The SSN, on the other hand, drives everything in today's economy.

My suggestion would be to replace the current SSN-driven system with this Real ID, as the "identifier", but not replacing a person's driver's license.
Posted by ReVeLaTeD (755 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are so lost.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
Wake Up
The old Social Security number is about worn out and abused enough for idnetification purposes. It was never supposed to be used for that which is now obvious. So, what is worong with having a better system that may help speed up things and in that process also help identify people who are up to no good and who are not suppoesd to be here anyway? Americans have one of the best places in the world to live, but they are not willing to do much to keep it that way.
Posted by clancy (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Much ado about nothing...
A national ID?

Hmmm. Lets think about this.

1) You have a drivers license? No?
2) A State ID verification card? No?
3) A student ID perhaps?

Just open your wallet and see what forms of "identification" you have.

The point is, we all need to know who we're dealing with at some point.

These IDs now contain photos. Did you know that the early drivers licenses didn't have a photo id?

But today they do. Why? Because we want to make sure that the people who are who they say they are and that the technology is advanced enough to support better identification.

A national ID would be a better device to contain more accurate and a combination of IDs as well as better authentication.

Will it stop all ID frauds? No.
But it will make it more difficult to commit ID theft.

We live in an age where we must do more to protect ourselves.

Do I trust Congress to get it right? No. Why Not? Because they don't have the ability to seperate a good idea from the fud and they will cater to special interest groups and have their own agenda.

But the idea has merit.
Posted by dargon19888 (412 comments )
Reply Link Flag
To vote for the lesser of of two evils is still evil......Obama and McCain will not lead us to the promise land....we will just get more of the same.....Go to and do a video search on the CFR....then search for the links they have with it.

Let us stop being good Democrats or Good Republicans but Let us be Good Americans and protect our Constitution for it was for all people, Left, Right or in between.

I have switched to the Constitution Party:

Go to:
Posted by freedomangel377 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The National ID is just the beginning of a darker Nightmare then what we have already experienced. This is a wolf in sheeps clothing if I ever saw one. This bloodsucker once attached will be hard to get free from.....better safe than sorry.
Do we have such a short memory: The NAFTA TRADE AGREEMENT was promised by Bush SR, Bill Clinton and now Bush Jr that it would create thousands of jobs....they forgot to tell us for whom the jobs would be for, surley not for us because we have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs here in the USA and they continue to go overseas. Someone is bent on Bankrupting this Nation...their loyalty is not with her here at home....Homeland Security was created by Bush....can you trust him......I voted for him twice...I won't trust him again....Nor will I vote for him a third time by voting for Obama or McCain...The National ID needs to be scrapped.....Vote for Dr Chuck Baldwin on the Constitutional Party Ticket.
Posted by freedomangel377 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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