Friday, April 11, 2008

RealID - could it be a boon for consumer identity security?

Today the ACLU sent out an email to its supporters to contact their Representatives to block bills that would enable states to fund their compliance with the RealID Act, which was passed in 2005 as a rider to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005.

The original law was HR 418 with the govtrack link here.

RealId is said to be the federal effort to implement at national identity card.

Of course, I understand the civil liberties-based concerns about this bill. I’m also concerned, however, about political action that consists of mailing form-generated emails to politicians that are one-sided and essentially emergency, knee-jerk reactions.

Some form of a “RealID” concept, possibly connected to NCOA, could become a foundation for stopping consumer fraud and identity theft, if addition systems were developed and if lenders were required to use such systems as part of due diligence in granting loans.

Isn’t it silly that we find ourselves manually shredding paper documents (or driving them to community shreds such as those sponsored periodically by NBC4 in Washington) because we can’t make banks and other lenders be more careful about whom they are lending to?

Of course, it’s tough. “Know thy customer” rules could have a deleterious effect on some kinds of small business, and could lead to more Internet regulation.

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