When Congress passed the 2005 Real ID act — mandating easy sharing (and intrinsic insecurity) — of driver's license data, they insisted 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.
The timing of the expiry, coupled with the lack of public debate about the issue, has the potential for real mischief: Americans whose Christmas holidays run long may find themselves unable to fly home because they didn't bring their passports with them.
12 states actually have laws prohibiting their DMVs from complying with Real ID requirements.
The new standards also require that licenses be equipped with "machine readable" technology, like a chip or a magnetic strip, to store all that personal information. Data from one state should also be made available electronically to all other states, and possibly also to federal authorities.
That information will eventually be shared through a system administered by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, a private group that provides support services to state motor vehicle departments.
A press officer for the Department of Homeland Security said the law's intention was not to create a national identification card but to extend what the agency calls best practices on issuing driver's licenses that apply to all states.
T.S.A. Moves Closer to Rejecting Some State Driver's Licenses for Travel [Jad Mouawad/NYT]
TSA may soon stop accepting drivers' licenses from nine states
[Joe Mullin/Ars Technica]
(Chart: New York Times)