It's called the REAL ID Act, and supporters claim it's a law designed to make it harder and more frustrating for terrorists and con artists to get government-issued ID. The Feds have spent the past couple of years working on all the deets, and now they've got 'em some rules which apparently they'll be looking to unveil today. As we'd expect, the ACLU's got some issues with it, declaring "REAL ID amounts to the "first-ever national identity card system," which "would irreparably damage the fabric of American life..." But yesterday DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff strangely responded to reporters:
"We worked very closely with the states in terms of developing a plan that I think will be inexpensive, reasonable to implement and produce the results," he said. "This is a win-win. As long as people use driver's licenses to identify themselves for whatever reason there's no reason for those licenses to be easily counterfeited or tampered with."Yeah, well some people don't use driver's licenses to just identify themselves — sometimes they use them to identify themselves as other people for nefarious purposes — isn't that why the Feds were proposing a new ID system? We're big fans of civil liberties and state's rights 'round these here parts in case you haven't noticed — and a couple of the provisions stick in our craw a bit. The details of how DHS wants to stop pretending and start getting REAL are below the jump.
—The traditional driver's license photograph would be taken at the beginning of the application instead of the end so that should someone be rejected for failure to prove identity and citizenship, the applicant's photo would be kept on file and checked in the future if that person attempted to con the system again.[AP via Time]
—The cards will have three layers of security measures but will not contain microchips as some had expected. States will be able to choose from a menu which security measures they will put in their cards.