TSA Will Stop Accepting Driver’s Licences from 8 States If They Don’t Comply With Federal Rules

(New York Times | 12/28/2015)

As soon as next year, a driver’s license may no longer be enough for airline passengers to clear security in some states, if the Department of Homeland Security has its way.

Federal officials said they would soon determine whetherTransportation Security Administration agents would start enforcing a 10-year-old law that required states to comply with a set of federal standards when issuing driver’s licenses.

The issue is quickly intensifying, and the debate over identification and privacy has grown after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and California.

But some states have bitterly opposed these requirements out of privacy concerns, and more than a dozen have passed laws barring their motor vehicle departments from complying with the law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The new standards require more stringent proof of identity and will eventually allow users’ information to be shared more easily in a national database.

Privacy experts, civil liberty organizations and libertarian groups fear the law would create something like a national identification card.

Federal and state officials have been arguing for years about the merits of the law, called the Real ID Act, which was enacted by Congress in 2005 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. Its proponents argue that it is a necessary tool to reduce identity theft and fraud, and enhance the nation’s security.

The federal government cannot force states to adopt these identification standards, but it can gain compliance in other ways. In October, it began requiring that visitors to military bases, nuclear plants and federal facilities produce a driver’s license from a state that complies with the law, or show another form of government ID, like a passport.

But the biggest leverage the government has over the states is commercial air travel.

The Department of Homeland Security said it would provide a schedule by the end of this year for when airport screeners would start accepting only driver’s licenses that complied with federal standards. It said that 120 days’ notice would be given before starting to enforce the law at airports.  Read the full article here | NEW YORK TIMES

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Reason | 12/30/2015)

The Department of Homeland Security, which runs the TSA, says it will give at least 120 days notice before implementing REAL ID Act requirements. For more, go here.

The last time we took notice of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it was to inform you that the unpopular, expensive, and ineffectual outfit had decided it could force travelers on domestic airline flights to go through full-body scanners. Previously, TSA had allowed folks to submit instead to a full-body pat-down.

Now comes even more troubling news. A decade ago, Congress passed The Real ID Act which was supposed to make it easier for law enforcement to share information on driver’s licenses issued by the states and territories. Even during a period of heightened fear of terrorism, there wasmassive and continuing pushback because everyone realized that when the federal government (or any other centralized authority) concentrates information, it just makes it that much easier for it to get hacked or misused (here are 22.1 million examples of the former and one representative example of the latter).

As Boing Boing notes, the feds quelled some of the rebellion by insisting that

compliance by states with the rules would be voluntary.

But they also threatened “consequences” for noncompliance. After a decade of state/fed jousting, the feds appear ready to visit some of those consequences upon the recalcitrant states: Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Washington (as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands). Previously, these states and territories had been granted exemptions to the Real ID requirements, but they expire on January 10, 2016 (less than two weeks from now), and the DHS has already refused to renew them for Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington and said they wouldn’t renew it for other states.

A dozen states actually have laws banning their divisions of motor vehicles from complying with Real ID requirements, which means something’s going to have to give in a few weeks’ time.

Ars Technica reports

In some states, the reason for lack of compliance isn’t incompetence or bungling, but active opposition. Missouri passed a law in 2009 forbidding state officials from implementing the law. The same year, Minnesota lawmakers not only barred implementation of Real ID but prohibited “preliminary measures like negotiations with federal officials related to the requirement,” according to a report in last week’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Some state lawmakers opposed Real ID because of privacy concerns, while others denounced the law as an “unfunded mandate” requiring states to change their licensing practices without providing any money to implement the changes.  REad the full article here | REASON

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