by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 21st 2008 5:31am
The Department of Homeland Security's "Real ID" program is a classic case of "security theater." It's a project designed to give the appearance of increased security, but which will actually do the opposite (and cost a ton of taxpayer dollars at the same time). The good (and somewhat surprising) thing, is that almost everyone (outside of DHS) seems to recognize this. Not a single state plans to implement the rules by the original deadline. DHS has been granting "extensions" to states that promise to implement the rules by 2010 while threatening to make drivers' licenses no longer valid IDs for things like boarding airplanes or entering federal buildings for any state that doesn't comply. While there are a few states that haven't even asked for an extension, California asked for an extension while saying clearly that it wasn't promising to implement Real ID at all -- but would use the extension to study the matter. This was a test, and DHS has backed down, granting the extension, allowing California drivers' licenses to remain legitimate federal IDs. This could give more confidence to other states to not just blindly implement Real ID. At this point, you have to think that many states are just waiting this out, assuming that there will be a change in management at DHS after the election this November, and the whole concept of Real ID will get changed or scrapped.
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