REAL ID Infringes on Privacy Rights

Late last week, I introduced H.R. 1117, The Repeal REAL ID and Identification Security Enhancement Act.  It is not enough merely to delay implementation of the deeply flawed law that created REAL ID.  Congress must replace it with legislation that does not infringe on the privacy rights of Americans, does not put their personal information at risk to possible fraudulent use, and does not impose the burden of an unfunded financial mandate on State taxpayers.

In 2004, I was one of 161 members of the House of Representatives to oppose the REAL ID Act when it came to the floor.  The Senate did not even take up this controversial legislation, and the former majority leadership in Congress ultimately slipped the bill into a must-pass spending bill in 2005 that provided funding for our troops and for tsunami relief.

REAL ID requires each state to create an electronic database of all information from every driver’s license it issues.  It further requires each state to link its electronic database to that of every other state in the nation, effectively creating a nationwide database containing the private information belonging to every individual with a driver’s license in the entire country.  I don’t trust the security of Mainers’ personal information to a system that makes it available at any DMV in the country.

My bill establishes a negotiated rulemaking process to involve all stakeholders in establishing federal standards for driver’s licenses and personal identification cards.
It would bring together officials from the federal Departments of Homeland Security and Transportation and the states with experts in privacy, civil liberties, and constitutional rights to establish national standards that will protect both national security and the privacy of American citizens.

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