The ability to travel in the United States is about to become more restrictive as the TSA announces it will soon be enforcing new identification standards in American airports.
Beginning in 2016, passengers attempting to pass through a federal TSA checkpoint will be subject to the requirements of the REAL ID Act. To that end, the TSA will put higher scrutiny on travelers’ identities, and will only accept a federal passport or a “REAL-ID” card, which is issued by the states to meet federal requirements. Passengers will not be allowed to fly through an American airport without submitting to the advanced federal specifications.
Both federal passports and REAL-ID cards require a number of unique personal identifiers to be stored together in government databases, including his or her full name, date of birth, Social Security Number, scanned signature, and other identifiers. Both cards require biometric data: a front-facing digital photograph of the passenger’s face, which is ultimately used with a facial recognition database.
ORIGIN OF ‘REAL ID’
The enhanced security measures stem from the passage of the REAL ID Act of 2005, a U.S. law enacted by President Bush that states that a Federal agency may not accept state-issued identification cards without complying with a number of enhanced standards of the REAL ID Act.The states were given a number of years to comply, and many moved to pass their own laws to meet the benchmarks of the REAL ID Act.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, only Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, and American Samoa have not met REAL ID standards as of January 2015. By DHS estimates, 70%-80% of all U.S. drivers are already carrying around REAL ID cards or live in states that have received extensions for compliance.
Some states have even gone as far as to require the applicant to present birth certificates, W-2 tax forms, bank statements, and/or pay stubs to verify one’s identity before handing out the new REAL-ID cards. Some cards have RFID chips embedded in them.Among the 39 benchmarks of the REAL ID Act, state ID cards have to be scannable with a bar code reader, and the states are required to share access to an electronic database with all other states.
Once DHS begins enforcing the REAL ID standards, Americans without a compliant state ID will be effectively prohibited from flying at a commercial airport. Passengers would need to obtain passports even to fly on planes that never leave the United States.
REAL ID cards streamline the process for the centralization and federalization of our private biometric data, while offering very little true benefit. In the words of Congressman Ron Paul, the program “offers us a false sense of greater security at the cost of taking a gigantic step toward making America a police state.”
Via Police State USA