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Department of Homeland Security endorses ID bill

July 8, 2009 by  

Department of Homeland Security endorses ID billJanet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, has expressed her support for the Providing for Additional Security in States’ Identification Act (PASS ID) legislation that has been introduced in the Senate on June 15.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Daniel Akaka, a Democrat from Hawaii, would repeal parts of the controversial Real ID Act of 2005, according to

Real ID has stirred privacy concerns when it emerged that it obliges states to collect personal information from drivers, store the information and electronically share it with other states. As a result, a total of 23 state legislatures have passed nonbinding legislation or bills that oppose or reject Real ID.

The proposed legislation’s supporters claim it will eliminate many of Real ID’s information-sharing requirements. The National Governors Association has praised PASS ID, saying it would reduce costs, offer greater flexibility to states, eliminate the need for costly new data systems and strengthen privacy protections.

However, opponents such as Jim Harper from the conservative Cato Institute are not convinced.

He points out it still sets national standards for identity cards and drivers licenses, and it makes possession or use either practically or legally required.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union has said risks to privacy remain a major concern under PASS ID.

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