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Real ID, PASS Act Deadline Extension

December 19, 2009 - 5:55pm
Nick Coons by Nick Coons


If you want to promote new regulations, just invoke the magical incantation "it's for national security", and no logical or empirical argument in support of the regulation is necessary.

The Obama administration has abandoned a 12/31/09 deadline for states' implementation of the Real ID Act.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that there's a new deadline of 5/11/11.  While the legislation may be tweaked and re-passed as the PASS Act, it's essentially the same thing -- a de-facto National ID card that will be required for all citizens to carry if they want to board a plane, enter a national building or a national park.  What's worse, it's even more difficult to opt out as the ID function will simply be built into the next driver's license that you're issued.

This is unfortunate in several ways.  First, it's costly.  The Real ID tells the states that they must do this without providing funds, and the PASS Act funds it nationally.  But in the end it's funded by taxpayers nonetheless.  Second, it's yet more intrusion into privacy (and if you think that people who are doing nothing wrong have nothing to hide, then surely you'll have no problem installing a publicly-accessible web-cam in your bathroom).

Supporters of the National ID card (either in the form of the Real ID or the PASS Act) say that it's for national security.  Even putting aside the fact that governments throughout history have never contributed to "national security" (whatever that is), making it easier to spy on law-abiding citizens and hassling them through airport security does nothing to make people safer.

Related Content:

National ID and Personal Privacy - Austin Raynor
Unfunded Liabilities and the National Debt - Richard Sutton
Designed to Fail: National Security, Intelligence, and 9/11 - Kimberly Ruff

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Show Date Aug 2, 2015
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