Business Administration Education Guide

Friday, March 02, 2007

New National State ID Card Regulations Issued

New National ID Card Regulations Issued


Homeland Security officials released guidelines that will turn state-issued identification cards into internal US passports. The new changes are expected to cost states and individuals $23 billion over 10 years.

The regulations are complex, ranging from the kinds of documents required to get a license, how states databases will interact, the required elements on a compliant I.D. document's face, how states need to store copies of your breeder documents, and how states can attempt to deal with homeless people and other cases, such as judges, police officers and victims of domestic violence and stalking.

The 162 pages of proposed rules (.pdf) require:

  • Applicants must present a valid passport, certified birth certificate, green card or other valid visa documents to get a license and states must check all other states' databases to ensure the person doesn't have a license from another state.

  • States must use a card stock that glows under ultraviolet light, and check digits, hologramlike images and secret markers.

  • Identity documents must expire before eight years and must include legal name, date of birth, gender, digital photo, home address and a signature. States can propose ways to let judges, police officers and victims of domestic violence keep their addresses off the cards. There are no religious exemptions for veils or scarves for photos.

  • States must keep copies of all documents, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards and utility bills, for seven to 10 years.

DHS estimates that it will take only 44 minutes for a current driver's license holder to get a certified copy of their birth certificate, travel to the DMV and get a new license when it expires. No current driver's license holder will be allowed to renew a license by mail.

Critics, such as American Civil Liberties Union attorney Tim Sparapani, charge that the bill increases government access to data on Americans and amplifies the risk of identity theft, without providing significant security benefits.

Sophia Cope, a staff attorney at the centrist Center for Democracy and Technology, says the rules only mention privacy once.

"The Real ID Act does not include language that lets DHS prescribe privacy requirements, so there are no privacy regulations related to exchange of personal information between the states, none about skimming of the data on the magnetic stripe, and no limits on use of information by the feds," Cope said.

The Real ID Act, slipped into an emergency federal funding bill without hearings, originally required states to begin issuing the ID documents by May 2008. The proposed rules allow states to ask for an extension until Jan. 1, 2010.

Cope wants Congress to step in and rewrite the rules. The ACLU and Jim Harper, a libertarian policy analyst at the Cato Institute who specializes in identity and homeland security issues, agree.

"With five-plus years behind us, now is the time to be looking at what works and what doesn't work," Harper said. "Students of identification know that a national ID does not help with security."

Maine has already declared it will not follow the rules, and other states are close to joining that rebellion. In Congress, a bipartisan coalition is forming around bills that would repeal portions of the Real ID Act, but it is unclear if today's rules will slow or accelerate these efforts.




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