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Mark Anderson / American Free Press | February 19, 2007

There are signs of rebellion in several state legislatures against the Real ID Act, the federal law that springs from the disputed findings of the 9-11 Commission.

Liberal and conservative groups are gearing up for a fight in the coming months to keep this contentious measure from creating the first-ever national ID card in U.S. history. The Real ID Act is supposed to be implemented in May 2008, creating new national drivers licenses to function as a virtual national ID.

According to a Christian Science Monitor report, legislators in at least 15 states “are pushing bills and resolutions that urge noncompliance with the 2005 Real ID Act. The law . . . sets minimum standards for verifying the identity of license applicants, and stipulates what information must be stored on machine-readable cards.”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations on Real ID Act implementation, while not yet published for public view, reportedly have been sent to the Office of Management and Budget in Washington. These guidelines are about one year overdue, according to Dr. Katherine Albrecht, an expert on radio-frequency identification, or RFID, interviewed Feb. 13 by American Free Press.

The Real ID Act, according to Dr. Albrecht, standardizes, and essentially nationalizes, all state drivers licenses. The DHS regulations will specify what information these new licenses—or national ID cards—will contain.

At a conference covered by AFP, constitutional scholar William Taylor Reil summarized that the proposed Real ID “is a different drivers license—in its form and content.”

He added that it’s anybody’s guess what information could be encoded in the ID’s magnetic strip. There very likely will be a fingerprint and/or other biometrics and surely a high-resolution photograph on the card. The strip itself could contain one’s financial history or medical history. Reil said the medical information would be “an easy sell,” since many could be convinced that such potentially sensitive information should be readily accessible in the event of injury in a car accident. Thus, privacy concerns would take a back seat and the public could be prodded into having considerable amounts of personal information on their card.

Dr. Albrecht, coauthor of Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move With RFID, said that it’s too early to say for sure whether remotely trackable RFID tags will be attached to the national ID cards under the Real ID law. But U.S. passports issued by the State Department since October 2006 contain shortrange readable RFID tags. And she said the DHS issues “U.S.-visit Visas” that have RFID tags with a 20-foot tracking range, given to those entering the United States from other nations.

The concerns over a national ID license raised by legislators in Maine, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Missouri, Massachusetts and several others reportedly were sparked by a September study by state government associations that pegged the cost of Real ID implementation at $11 billion—much more than the $100 million Congress said. The Monitor noted Congress has allocated $40 million.

Many spot another unfunded or under-funded mandate. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) acknowledged that this issue is bringing liberals and conservatives together “in the middle” to protest the concept of a national ID.

The question is whether the groundswell of citizen opponents and skeptical state legislators—in the 15 months remaining until the planned Real ID Act implementation—can defeat the whole idea, in a nation that has yet to embrace the totalitarian concept of a full-fledged national ID card loaded with personal information.

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