Monday, December 22, 2008

How bad of a mess is Obama inheriting with Real ID?

I just want to briefly follow up on my December 12th post that delved into the question where Obama/Napolitano might stand in regards to REAL ID. In that post, I made the point that we really don't know a whole lot about how the new administration will approach the program. I stated:

Here's what we do know: Janet Napolitano opposed REAL ID as Governor of Arizona, but did so on the grounds that it was too expensive and burdensome for the states to implement. I have yet to read any strong statement from the Director of Homeland Security to be on the issue of privacy and the concept of a National ID card...Making matters worse, or at least less clear, is President Elect Obama's near silence on the issue, with a couple quips here and there about "it being too expensive and burdensome for states", (I'm paraphrasing). Again, this isn't exactly the kind of condemnation and outright opposition we would hope for.

I found a useful addendum to that post in an article written by the same author in Computerworld today. Let's just say the program is an unadulterated mess...

Jaikumar Vijayan writes:

As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office, it's unclear how his administration will proceed on the technology-heavy Real ID program. But what is all too clear is that the three-year-old effort to impose identification-card standards on state governments remains mired in controversy.


There's no mandate that states issue Real ID cards. But eventually, all citizens will need IDs that comply with the requirements in order to board planes, enter federal buildings and receive federal benefits.

The outpouring of protests has prompted the DHS to ease up on its implementation deadlines. For instance, under the final rules set by the agency last January, existing driver's licenses will continue to be accepted as federal identification until December 2014. And people who are age 50 or above at that time won't have to show Real ID cards for another three years.


At this point, the only reasonable way forward is for the DHS to work more cooperatively with states on Real ID implementations instead of continuing to "dangle sabers over their heads," said Chris Dixon, an analyst at Input, a government IT consulting firm in Reston, Va.

I think it goes without saying that an Obama/Napolitano team will bring with it a lot more common sense and basic respect and understanding of the Constitution...but big questions still are we still headed towards a National ID?

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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