Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Real ID Act: a possible tool?

Homeland security expert Randall J. Larsen, in his book "Our Own Worst Enemy" (Grand Central Press, 2007) discussed, among many other ideas, the possible benefits of a national id card. He mentions the REAL ID Act of 2005, officially named Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005. The bills were HR 418 and 1268. Bush signed it into law in 2005. But the enforcement of the Act has been postponed until December 2009. The Wikipedia reference, well cited, is here.

Civil libertarians criticize proposals for national ID cards, which could even include encodings related to retinal or iris prints. However, supporters believe that they might make it much easier to prevent enormous crimes. Furthermore, they (like USPS NCOA use as a master reference, as I have proposed) could give banks, car dealers and other lenders a reliable way of identifying borrowers, therefore protecting consumers. Larsen points this out.

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