Jan 122011
 January 12, 2011  Posted by  Featured News, Laws

From thats-news-to-me dept.

Over on The Volokh Conspiracy, Stewart Baker writes:

The Center for Immigration Studies and Janice Kephart have released a remarkable new study about REAL ID, the controversial drivers license security requirements adopted to implement one of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. The law sets security standards for state licenses.  It was attacked from the start by civil libertarians as a privacy violation and by the National Governors Association as an $11 billion unfunded mandate. Reluctant either to wade into the controversy or to visibly retreat, the Obama Administration has been frozen at the stick since 2009, doing little to push the states to comply.

What the Kephart study shows is that, despite all its enemies and despite the Administration’s visible reluctance to act, REAL ID is in fact being widely implemented – and at a cost of roughly one-twentieth of what NGA claimed. This is good news for security and good news for people victimized by identity theft.

From the Center for Immigration Studies backgrounder:

The implementation of laws providing for minimum security standards for driver’s license issuance is living up to the claims of its supporters, primarily the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which asserts that driver’s license security is an important step toward national security and reduced fraud at the state level. Equally important, this same 2005 REAL ID law described above, based on recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, is proving to be easier to implement and less expensive than critics have alleged for years. In fact, 11 states have already fulfilled the first stage of REAL ID compliance — meaning they have fulfilled all 18 REAL ID security benchmarks — ahead of the May 2011 deadline. The next stage, in December 2014, requires all those who have reached the age of 50 by that date to be issued a license that complies with the 18 benchmarks. The final stage requires all eligible individuals to be enrolled with REAL ID-compliant licenses by December 2017.


While implementation of REAL ID appears to be significantly less expensive and time-consuming than previously thought, the proponents of the unsuccessful attempts to repeal REAL ID and adopt PASS ID are now quietly suggesting regulatory changes. Some of these changes require Congress to pass significant amendments to the REAL ID law. These suggestions are proposed by the authors of the same National Impact Statement that claimed a price tag for REAL ID of $11 billion: the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Many of these changes incorporate language from the failed 2009 PASS ID Act.27 Others hold little to no value and are not reflective of the current status of REAL ID implementation. A few suggestions cut at the very core of the identity verification and authentication elements of REAL ID that are aimed at improving national and economic security.

Will have to find time to read that whole report later.

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