Complying with the provisions of the REAL ID Act of 2005 will cost states at least $2.5 billion and take at least until 2012 to implement, a market research firm said Thursday.
Passed in 2005, the REAL ID Act requires states to redesign their driver license and identification cards by May 11, 2008, to conform to federal regulations set by the Department of Homeland Security. After that date, the federal government will not accept identification cards that do not conform to the requirements, and people in such states would have to carry a passport in order to enter federal courts, airports and other federal facilities.
But the Department of Homeland Security has yet to issue the regulations stating what exactly must be on a REAL ID compliant card.
Input Inc. released a report Thursday stating that since federal money was not likely to be forthcoming, states would have to pay for most or all of the cost of implementing the provisions of the act, and it would likely take at least until 2012 for states to come into compliance.
State officials have called REAL ID a “nightmare” and “impossible” to implement by 2008.
“Barring another historic event such as 9/11, it is unlikely the federal government will be able to muster the funding or the public support to force swift implementation of REAL ID,” said James Krouse, acting director of public sector market analysis at Input. “But, if the anticipated adequate funding becomes available, Input projects significant contract opportunities for vendors through 2012.”
The money is going to come from somewhere, in other words, certain vendors are going to get big chunks of it, and you’re going to pay out the nose for your driver license renewal.
Why is the federal government instituting a national ID card?
It isn’t to prevent terrorism. That myth was debunked a year ago, when REAL ID first came on the radar. “Remember, security is a trade-off,” said security expert Bruce Schneier. “A national ID is a lousy security trade-off, and everyone needs to understand why.”
Schneier says that a national ID card, like any security system, needs to be analyzed by the ways in which someone might attempt to subvert it, a test REAL ID fails miserably.
“It doesn’t really matter how well an ID card works when used by the hundreds of millions of honest people that would carry it. What matters is how the system might fail when used by someone intent on subverting that system: how it fails naturally, how it can be made to fail, and how failures might be exploited.”
What the national ID does well is to move America closer to the perfect police state. “One of my fears is that this new uniform driver’s license will bring a new level of ‘show me your papers’ checks by the government,” he wrote.
Or to put it another way: In WWII we fought the Axis powers, who maintained strict controls over their populations and were famous for demanding papers of anyone at any time for no reason . . . among other things. Is this what the U.S. is to become? It’s completely the wrong way to fight terrorism, but it’s completely the right way to create a police state.