Tuesday, April 1, 2008

South Carolina gets Real ID extension, without actually asking for one

Montana now has some company! Two (now 2) states now have told the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that they are not going to implement the REAL ID Act, yet still were able to get an extension from the government to continue to use their driver's licenses to board planes without being patted down, at least until 2010.

If nothing else, this demonstrates DHS is a little hesitant to start an all out war with the growing number of states that oppose this National ID scam. It just happens that Montana and South Carolina are the only two to refuse to even ask for an extension to meet the Act's requirements yet still have an extension approved. Maine on the other hand is still awaiting its fate, as it also is opposing the Act, and refusing to ask for an extension - thereby risking government penalty.

Computer World Reports:

Looking to defuse another potential test of the federal government's determination to push ahead with its controversial Real ID program, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security today gave South Carolina an extension for complying with the program's requirements — even though the state didn't explicitly request such an extension.

compliance rules issued by the DHS in January, today was the last day for states to seek an extension on meeting a set of Real ID requirements that are supposed to be implemented by May 11. South Carolina and Maine were the only states without extensions at the start of the day, according to the DHS Web site. That put their residents at risk of not being able to use their driver's licenses as identification when checking in for air travel or entering federal buildings after May 11.


In a lengthy and blistering section of his letter (download PDF), Sanford cited six specific concerns that he has about the Real ID mandate. They include the program's cost, the expansion of federal powers it entails, and the data privacy and security issues that he said would stem from the creation of a national network of driver's license databases.


The Real ID plans have provoked a firestorm of protest from critics, including a data privacy committee within the DHS itself. Much of the concern stems from fears that the program would create a de facto national ID system that would be hard to manage and even harder to secure. There are also fears that the Real ID cards eventually could be used for a wide set of purposes, including surveillance of individuals by the federal government.


Sanford also criticized the expectation that states would pick up the cost of implementing Real ID themselves, saying that South Carolina would have to spend nearly $116 million to adopt the provisions of the program.

And he noted that central repositories of personal data "have never proven to be great bulwarks in the world of security." Sanford pointed to various IT security mishaps within federal agencies over the past few years, including the massive data breach at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs two years ago.

In California, Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D-35) has introduced a non-binding resolution in response to concerns about privacy, security and the high price of the REAL ID ACT - which the government's most recent estimate pegs at $4 billion nationally. If all goes well, California will join the growing chorus of opposition to the Act...

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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