Do we need a National ID? 58% of Americans say "NO"

Posted: August 17, 2009 in 9-11 Commission Report, biometrics, PASS Act, Real ID Act, RFID

c/o PARADE Magazine ::: Click the link to take the poll and view current results.

Congress is considering a controversial new plan called Pass ID that would require all American driver’s licenses to meet a set of national standards—creating, in effect, a national ID card. On one side of the debate are those who say the cards are necessary for national security. The idea arose after the 9/11 Commission called for standardized IDs, noting that “travel documents are as important as weapons” for terrorists operating on U.S. soil. Privacy advocates oppose the cards, saying they’d give the government too much access to citizens’ personal information.

The plan’s first iteration, called Real ID, was approved by Congress in 2005 but met resistance from states, which balked at its $11 billion price tag. By eliminating some of the technical requirements and providing additional funding, the new plan is winning some support: Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, who opposed Real ID as governor of Arizona, now says that Pass ID represents “a cost-effective, commonsense solution.”


But not everyone is happy—some Congressmen who supported Real ID say the new plan doesn’t do enough to stop terrorists. On the other side, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union say the plan threatens personal privacy by requiring states to keep copies of identifying documents and by easing government access to information, such as where and when Americans travel. “It still amounts to a national ID that will require state departments of motor vehicles to retain information and documentation on citizens,” says Chris Calabrese, an ACLU lawyer.

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