The National Governors Association (NGA) last week reported that implementing the controversial changes mandated by Congress in last year's REAL ID Act would cost states more than $11 billion over the next five years
In a detailed report
NGA, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators itemize the costs associated with reissuing more secure, standardized drivers' licenses to more than 245 million people. In addition to the monetary costs, the report finds that implementing those changes would more than double the amount of time that most citizens devote to obtaining identification documents.
We've been saying for years that REAL ID raises significant privacy concerns, but before we even address them, it may be worth asking whether the program itself is worthwhile, in light of the daunting costs associated with implementing it.
If the REAL ID Act had been introduced through regular order in the Senate, rather than passed in the Iraq War spending bill, many of these issues may have been addressed or at least the negotiated rulemaking procedure that was part of the Intelligence Reform bill would have been allowed to proceed.
One thing is clear: even fully implemented Real ID will not solve all of the privacy and security problems plaguing state DMVs. Our 2004 report
on the topic offers a sobering look at the privacy challenges facing state DMVs.
States should be urged to secure their drivers license systems against fraud and identity theft.
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