Opponents of the REAL ID Act of 2005 were given a bit of hope earlier this year when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that she wanted to repeal the Act, a law which has been perceived by many as the federal government's failed plan to impose a national identification card through state driver's licenses and identification cards. What has taken place since early February is a cosmetic makeover called "The PASS ID Act," an act that has revived the push for a national identification card.
As currently worded, the PASS ID Act (S. 1261) seeks to make many of the same ineffectual, dangerous changes the REAL ID Act attempted to impose. On its face, the PASS ID Act operates on the same flawed premise as the REAL ID Act - that requiring various "identity documents," and storing that information in government databases for later access, will magically make state drivers' licenses and identification cards more legitimate, which will in turn improve national security.
Proponents of the PASS ID Act seem to be ignoring the possible impotence of such an identification card scheme. Individuals motivated to obtain and/or utilize fake identification will instead use fake identity documents to procure "real" drivers' licenses or state identification cards. The PASS ID Act also creates new identity theft risks for every individual possessing a driver's license or state identification card in that the act calls for the scanning and storage of applicants' identity documents (birth certificates, visas, etc.) within government databases only accessible by "authorized individuals." A prime target for malicious identity thieves will be the sensitive personal identifiers of each and every individual possessing a driver's license or state identification card. Despite some changes to the proposed legislation, the PASS ID ACT is detrimental for privacy much the same as the REAL ID Act.
Health care reform is commanding tremendous attention on Capitol Hill at the moment, so the PASS ID Act remains stagnant. After the late summer recess pay attention, though, because proponents of the PASS ID Act will be back. Despite provisions that claim to allow states the freedom to issue non-federal identification cards, the PASS ID Act will require everyone boarding a plane or entering a federal building for "any official purpose" to show a federally recognized identification card. At the moment, the only "card" within this category is the state drivers' license or identification card.
William E. Lewis, Jr. is a credit repair expert and host of the Credit Restoration Consultants Hour on AM 1470 WWNN in south Florida. For more information on credit repair, please contact CRC at (954) 581-5050 or visit them online at http://www.TalkAboutCredit.com
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