Monday, December 10, 2007

Legislators, residents speak out against REAL ID program

The REAL ID Act - passed as an attachment to a supplemental spending bill for the Iraq war effort in 2005 - continues to meet resistance across the country whenever the public gets a chance to comment on it. Unfortunately, the Homeland Security Department (HSD) has kept such public gatherings to a minimum.

The Real ID Act would turn our state driver’s licenses into a genuine national identity card and impose numerous new burdens on taxpayers, citizens, immigrants, and state governments – while doing nothing to protect against terrorism. This new federal identity document would be required of every American in order to fly on commercial airlines, enter government buildings, open a bank account, and more.

The common reaction from concerned public citizens across the country to the Act has centered on the threat it would pose to individual privacy, the high costs states would incur to implement it, the increased danger of identity theft, and the possible loss of freedoms due to expanded government power. The recent hearings in Pennsylvania were no different. The good news is that 17 states have already passed legislation that opposes the Real ID Act...with Pennsylvania currently debating the passage of their own such bill.

The Daily American reported on the overwhelming public opposition displayed at the hearings:

The problem begins with a number of constitutional issues, opposition leaders say, and will only get worse when the identity database created by the act begins to be linked to financial institutions and essentially becomes a national identity card.


Many of the residents attending the event were uncomfortable with the program. Chris Faris, of Somerset, said that the act is not about security. “It’s about money. There’s a cottage industry of buying and selling information. They’re going to profit from it and say that we’re alarmists crying Fascism,” he said.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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