For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Linda Paris, (202) 675-2312;  

Senate Hearing Today to Examine Problematic Real ID Act of 2005

Privacy, Constitutionality and Security Concerns of National ID Require Repeal of Law, Not Legislative Fix

WASHINGTON - The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing today to examine the Real ID Act of 2005, a failed law designed to turn the state driver's license into a national ID card. Since Real ID was enacted, 24 states have passed anti-Real ID bills or resolutions rejecting implementation of the law as an unfunded federal mandate which increases bureaucratic hassles and the risk of identity theft for ordinary Americans. The hearing entitled "Identification Security: Reevaluating the REAL ID Act" will likely focus on the Pass ID Act, a bill that fails to fix the privacy, constitutionality and security problems associated with a national ID.

On Monday, in advance of today's hearing, the American Civil Liberties Union joined a coalition of 23 other civil liberties groups in a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to repeal Real ID and oppose Pass ID. In the coalition letter, the groups offered principles to guide the policy development of a secure driver's license. Among the concerns about the Pass ID proposal that the coalition cited are a failure to protect victims of domestic violence, inadequate protections for religious minorities and higher costs to consumers.

The following can be attributed to Chris Calabrese, Counsel to the ACLU Technology and Liberty Program:

"Pass ID is supposed to remove the rough edges from Real ID and make it easier for states to implement that failed law. But Pass ID has the same privacy, constitutionality and security problems as Real ID. Pass ID is the wrong answer for the constitutional predicament that Real ID created. Congress should repeal the 2005 law, not concoct another legislative quagmire.

"The long history of abuse associated with national ID cards - including their use by the former Soviet Union and by the Germans in World War II - demand that the creation of a de facto national ID card be subject to serious national debate. Last year, Senator Akaka was right to suggest a policymaking process that brings together state and federal governments as well as privacy groups to create a secure driver's license that doesn't result in a national ID."

For privacy coalition letter, go to


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