ACLU Testifies before Senate against Real ID

April 29, 2008 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office testified today about the privacy and security concerns with creating a federal identity document every American will need in order to fly on commercial airlines, enter government buildings, or open a bank account. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia held an oversight hearing on the Real ID Act and the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, examining the federal government’s capacity to implement the new identification systems.

“Congress is currently on the path of creating a national ID system that fails to make America more secure while sacrificing individual privacy,” said Caroline Fredrickson. “Congress still has the opportunity to reconsider this route and put our nation on a better path that adds security and protects the privacy of all Americans. Chairman Akaka’s bill, the Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2007, accomplishes both of these goals. It is now up to Congress to either allow our nation to continue towards an ineffective ID system that leads to a national ID, or repeal the Real ID Act of 2005 and institute ID security that protects our nation and our privacy.”

“The Real ID Act of 2005 was hastily passed by Congress, without the proper assessment about cost and implementation,” Fredrickson added. “With Real ID, tens of thousands of people will have access to our information in a massive government database. The national database could well become a one-stop shop for identity thieves.”

ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Tim Sparapani added, “The Real ID Act was a bad piece of legislation in 2005 and has remained bad policy for our federal government. The states have put up unprecedented resistance to the Department of Homeland Security, and this opposition is only accelerating. DHS set an absurd schedule that does not implement Real ID until late 2017 at the earliest. Congress should step in and repeal Real ID, restoring the American values of privacy, security and state innovation with the Akaka bill.”

A copy of submitted testimony to the committee can be found at:

/safefree/general/35079leg20080429.html

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