July 20, 2009    /    by

Move Over Real ID: Here Comes PASS ID

  After a revolt over cost, timelines and a host of other difficult issues, the original "Real ID" appears dead. Secretary Napolitano testified ...

  After a revolt over cost, timelines and a host of other difficult issues, the original "Real ID" appears dead. Secretary Napolitano testified this past week on why changes were needed to create a new "PASS ID" which will be partially funded by the federal government. PASS ID stands for "Providing for Additional Security in States' Identification Act." Washingtontechnology.com described the differences in this plan.  

Calling it " Real ID Version 2 ," new legislation was introduced into Congress which would modify the Real ID Act of 2005. Implementation details from the original Real ID were opposed by many Governors, the National Governor's Association and numerous privacy activists.

Here's an excerpt from a Govtech.com article describing the National Governor's Association (NGA) position on this topic: 

   The NGA said in a release that PASS ID Act recommendations supported by the NGA included:

  • Reducing costs by providing greater flexibility for states to meet federal requirements by eliminating fees associated with the use of existing databases and eliminating unnecessary requirements
  • Eliminating the need to develop costly new data systems that raise significant privacy and cost concerns without increasing security
  • Strengthening privacy protections by requiring procedures to prevent unauthorized access or sharing of information
  • Allowing states to better use existing timetables to renew compliant drivers' licenses and identification cards.

But critics of PASS ID claim that this new "scaled back Real ID" won't solve many of our driver license fraud problems. The Washington Post reported:

    "The new plan keeps elements of Real ID, such as requiring a digital photograph, signature and machine-readable features such as a bar code. States also will still need to verify applicants' identities and legal status by checking federal immigration, Social Security and State Department databases.

But it eliminates demands for new databases -- linked through a national data hub -- that would allow all states to store and cross-check such information, and a requirement that motor vehicle departments verify birth certificates with originating agencies, a bid to fight identity theft.

...'The new plan would still let people get licenses with fake documents,' said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), who authored the 2005 legislation." 

It remains to be seen if these modifications to Real ID become law. However, with state governments in difficult budget situations, there is no doubt that PASS ID, with federal funding, is a welcome sight for most cash-strapped states. The chances are very good that a similar new approach (with some modifications) will become the driver's license standard that is implemented across America.

What are your thoughts on PASS ID?