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>Op/Ed: Real ID poses big threat to Delaware freedom

11/04/2009

>Letter to the Editor for Delaware Online


Real ID poses big threat to Americans’ freedom

“Your papers, please” is not a phrase that sits well will freedom-loving Americans. A national ID card system flies in the face of everything we as Americans believe in. The new Delaware “secure” driver’s licenses (aka Real ID) is a national ID card. Both state and federal authorities say that these cards will not be shared by the states with the federal government. Is anyone over the age of 10 still naive enough to believe this?

Are you concerned with the security of your own identity, and who has access to it? For those of you who say “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide,” consider the implications for ID theft: Many DMV employees across the country have been jailed for selling driver’s license information. Consider also that the Delaware DMV routinely sells its records to anyone who pays them — without telling you.

This information can include your license number, photo, Social Security number and birth date.

As for increasing the security of America, consider the card itself. A single national ID is an exceedingly valuable document, and accordingly, there’s greater incentive to forge it. No matter how unforgeable we make it, it will be forged. Such an ID is a dream come true for terrorists. The government has spent so much time telling us how secure these IDs are that they will be accepted without question. There is more security in alert guards paying attention to subtle social cues than bored minimum-wage guards blindly checking IDs.

It is also questionable how well ill-trained state DMV employees will be able to spot fraudulent documents, such as out-of-state birth certificates or licenses.

Also, if a DMV employee determines that your documents are fraudulent, where do you turn for redress? Of course, if they’re typical government employees, showing them a portrait of Benjamin Franklin might smooth things out.

Wes M. Jones, Wilmington

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