Monday, April 14, 2008

Alaska Rejects REAL ID - Nasua Telegraph Editorial Also Opposes Act

It should be no surprise to anyone anymore that the drum beat of opposition among the states to the Bush Administration's National ID Card...I mean, REAL ID Act, is growing louder.

Two tidbits of information to report today. First, Alaska's legislature has voted to stop implementation of the Act entirely.

The Alaska Legislature approved legislation rejecting implementation of the federal Real ID Act. Lawmakers believe the federal law infringes on the fundamental right to privacy of Alaskans and would effectively bring about a national ID card system. The legislation ­SB202- opts Alaska out of REAL ID by forbidding the funding of anything that would further REAL ID compliance. SB202 is sponsored by Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage.


The federal Real ID law was passed by Congress in May 2005 as part of a must pass" federal appropriations bill. The law requires driver's licenses and state ID cards to carry what is known as "common machine readable technology," and that means the government can swipe your card every time you use it. The information can be accessed by all other states and will be maintained by a private corporation. The information could even be used by Canada and Mexico due to treaties the United States has with those nations.


The Real ID Act ­if enacted-- could take on "Big Brother" proportions. The federal legislation gives the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to require biometric information to the card. That means your fingerprints, a retinal scan - even your DNA can be added to the card.

Many gun owners are also concerned it will be used to create a national gun registry. By opting-out of REAL ID, Alaskans no longer need worry about this.Alaska is not the only state rising up against the Real ID Act. Eighteen other states have passed legislation similar to SB 202 and another eighteen are considering them.

Click here to read the entire statement by the Alaska Senate Bipartisan Working Group.

Also adding to the drumbeat of opposition is New Hampshire - a place one would expect to see a rebellion when it comes to issues related to privacy. In this case, one of the state's major newspapers - the Nashua Telegraph - forcefully editorializes in support of the state's opposition to the act.

The Editorial "N.H. right to reject Real ID program" reads:

Many Real ID opponents are concerned with civil liberties and the potential infringement of privacy rights posed by a national ID system. They argue that the new standards would create greater repositories of data about private citizens at the state license issuing offices, and that this data could be the target of everything from hackers interested in identity theft to federal snooping.


The problem with this position, however, is that refusal to participate in the Real ID program may bring a whole different set of inconveniences to New Hampshire residents. If the federal government begins to enforce Real ID requirements at airports and federal buildings, for example, New Hampshire residents with a non-compliant driver's license may find themselves singled out for extra scrutiny.

... some point the federal government will need to find a more permanent resolution for this impasse with states vehemently opposed to the Real ID program. The solution seems to be a reinvention of the program in a way that addresses states' concerns. New Hampshire should be proud that it is one of the states pressuring the federal government to come up with a better solution to this tricky situation.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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