Congress is attempting to pass the Real ID Act (text of the bill and the Congressional Research Services analysis of the bill), which would establish uniform standards for state driver’s licenses, effectively creating a national ID card.
A number of criticisms of the idea have made their way around the blogosphere.
For example, the Real ID Act requires driver’s licenses to include a "common machine-readable technology." This will make identity theft easier, since that data will easily find its way on to many databases — like the kinds that were recently hacked at companies like Choicepoint.
Real ID requires that driver’s licenses contain actual addresses, and no post office boxes. There are no exceptions made for judges or police — even undercover police officers or CIA spies. This creates an unnecessary security risk.
Real ID also prohibits states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. So what will be the result? Illegal aliens driving without licenses — which isn’t going to help anyone’s security.
Real ID is expensive. It’s an unfunded mandate: the federal government is forcing the states to spend their own money to comply with the act.
What’s more, none of this is required.The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, signed into law last year, included stronger security measures for driver’s licenses (the ones recommended by the 9/11 Commission Report).