ACLU Scorns Real ID Act on the Heels of National Rebellion Against Harmful Driver’s License Law

May 8, 2007 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont, Allen Gilbert, testified today before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing held in response to national outcry against the Real ID Act’s privacy invasions. The hearing occurred just one day after the ACLU submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security on its regulations aiming to fix the national driver’s license law. In addition, yesterday Colorado became the eighth state to reject Real ID.

“Our government can’t just slap a coat of whitewash onto a law that was built on a rotten foundation. Nothing short of gutting it will solve the problems in the Real ID Act,” said ACLU Legislative Counsel Timothy Sparapani. “Real ID is expensive, it is invasive and it does nothing to stop terrorism.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has signed onto a bill with Senators Akaka, Sununu and Tester to confront the worst privacy and civil liberties problems in the Real ID Act. The act mandated a national standard for driver’s licenses after September 11th. But Real ID came with a $23 billion price tag that the federal government refused to fund and a requirement that all drivers register their fingerprints or other personal data into a de facto centralized database that streamlines identity theft.

Eight states have passed laws rejecting Real ID, many expressing privacy concerns, and more than 25 others, including Vermont, have introduced bills condemning the program. The ACLU has led the charge against Real ID since it was first tacked onto a military spending bill in 2005.

To read more about the Real ID Act, visit

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