Wednesday, May 11, 2005

U.S. ID card through the backdoor?

As slashdot reports, the U.S. Congress has passed a bill that includes tight rules for state issued driving licenses, effectively turning them into national ID cards.

The $82 bn. “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005” (H.R.1268) includes in H.R.1268.EH, Division B the “Real ID Act of 2005” (you can access the text as summarized by the Congressional Research Service here -- look for “Title II”).

According to the law, driver's licenses have to include a person's full legal name, date of birth, gender, the driver's license or ID card number, a digital photograph, the address of principal residence and the signature (thus effectively creating a national standard for them). Furthermore the driver's license has to be machine readable, and states have to agree to the linking of databases that contain the driver's license data.

Effectively, this means a centralised national database of all people in the U.S. holding driver's licenses. The provisions set down in this law will become effective in three years' time.

The National Governors Association has joined the National Conference of State Legislatures, The Council of State Governments and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators in expressing opposition to this law and threatened legal action to challenge the constitutionality of the law.


At 30/5/05 03:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were just talking about this issue in my class last week. I just stumbled upon your blog today and I must say I'm hooked already. Thanks for such informative and relevant postings!!


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