Big Brother to require digital features in driver’s license
(Tea Party) – Just when you wondered how much more intrusive Big Brother could be in your life, along comes the National Identity Card and Western Hemisphere-compliant travel document. You’re getting it whether you want it or not if you plan to drive in the United States or travel via airways or railways.
It’s bad enough that your medical records will be floating around in some obscure online storage area that likely won’t have airtight security like they will claim, but now the federal government will soon demand that state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards comply with Department of Homeland Security standards. (This as the administration continues to fight voter ID cards. A double-standard indeed.)
Just before Christmas the DHS announced a final schedule for fully enforcing its REAL ID Act of 2005.
Starting in January of 2014 a phased enforcement will begin with full-scale enforcement set for May 2017. At that point a state-issued driver’s license or ID card that does not meet minimum security standards set by DHS will no longer be accepted.
Unfortunately for Americans that remember World War II the implementation of REAL ID is a flashback to fascist, totalitarian states where innocent people were stopped by authorities demanding “Your papers!”
REAL ID in the US came about as a result of the concern for increased travel safety after 9/11 when the 9/11 Commission documented that several of the terrorists held valid state-issued driver’s licenses. As such, they freely boarded the planes that they would turn into death chambers—despite the fact that they were terrorists and had entered the US illegally.
New DHS requirements for state-issued driver’s licenses include a valid birth certificate, verification of Social Security Number, or documentation that shows the person is not eligible for SS, and proof of US citizenship—or proof that the applicant was lawfully admitted to the US as a permanent or temporary resident.
In addition to the DHS requirements, the federal government will set its own strict requirements as well.
To qualify as DHS-compliant the licenses or ID cards must contain built-in security features such as those that prevent tampering, counterfeiting and duplication of the documents for purposes of fraud.
REAL ID cards must establish the individuals identity which may include digital photographs and bar-coded information that captures key printed information on the card, such as name, address, gender, unique identification numbers, expiration date and more.
State-issued enhanced driver’s licenses—EDLs—are required to be issued in state facilities. Employees at such facilities will undergo background checks and federal and state criminal record searches. State-issued cards must fully comply with travel rules that are issued under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)and EDLs must meet valid passport minimums for travel with the US, Canada and Mexico in addition to Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda.
By May 2017 state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards will not be considered valid by the federal government. Those individuals with non-compliant identification may not be allowed to pass through TSA checkpoints in airports or rail stations within the US or internationally.
“States have made considerable progress in meeting the need identified by the 9/11 Commission to make driver’s licenses and other identification more secure,” said David Heyman, DHS assistant secretary for policy. “DHS will continue to support their efforts to enhance the security in an achievable way that will make all of our communities safer.”
As of December 20, there were 21 states that were commended by the DHS for currently meeting the minimum standards for leadership in improving security for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards. They are as follows: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
DHS also announced extensions for 20 states and territories that have shown they are moving toward full compliance: Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Virginia.
According to DHS, those states/territories that are not REAL ID complaint include: Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Marianas, Oklahoma, and Washington State.
Currently, 75 percent of all US drivers hold licenses either from states identified as meeting the REAL ID standards or from those who have received an extension.
The TSA will accept driver’s licenses and state-issued ID cards until at least 2016 from all jurisdictions which means that enforcement for boarding aircraft will not begin before that time.
Big Brother is watching.