Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Real ID Overextended: Montana gloats; SC drops suit

WIRED c/o Threat Level


"Montana governor Brian Schweitzer says he won the Real ID stare down with DHS chief Michael Chertoff.Photo: Montana Governor's Office

"If I were writing the headline, it would be 'DHS Blinks," Schweitzer, a Democrat, told THREAT LEVEL by phone late Friday.

Montana's attorney general sent DHS chief Michael Chertoff a letter (.pdf) Friday outlining the security features in Montana's current driver's licenses, which DHS threatened to reject as valid I.D. for boarding airplanes or entering federal buildings come May 11 unless the state promised to comply with Real ID.

DHS responded by interpreting that letter as a request for an extension (.pdf) of the Real ID deadlines until 2010, reversing its previous position that Montana ID cards would be rejected by federal agents.

"I sent them a horse and if they want to call it a zebra, that's up to them," Schweitzer said. "They can call it whatever they want, and it wasn't a love letter."

Schweitzer emphasized that his state's licenses already contain holograms, secure digital photographs and a magnetic stripe on the back. But says he has no intention of sharing his state's residents' data with the federal government, as required by Real ID. ::FULL STORY HERE::

Associated Press

South Carolina's attorney general says it's too early for the state to sue the federal government over new driver's licenses.

Attorney General Henry McMaster's opinion released Monday says the state should show the Department of Homeland Security what it already has done to make driver's licenses more secure following the September 11 terror attacks. McMaster says that will show the federal agency that the state is meeting the standards of the new law, known as Real ID.

Governor Mark Sanford has been considering whether to seek an extension to comply with the law. The deadline is next Monday.

If Sanford doesn't seek one, South Carolinians will have to use a passport to board airplanes or go through extra security checks.

BeatTheChip.org comment

The 2008 Democratic primaries have proven a visceral contest between snapping red-herrings and the grueling endurance to volley the issues. Real ID has become an unpopular thorn in the side of both privacy advocates and Chertoff himself. All front running Presidential candidates voted in the Real ID Act of 2005. Chertoff asserts US states convinced him "they wanted this very much". Today the Congressional mandate ails from State's constituent revulsion and serious lack of funding. We Are Change polished the Penn State rendition of their Real ID song. Lets hope like crazy that between now and May 11th , 2008 Real ID will become a civil liberties tipping point as part of the Presidential discourse. Wishfully, before a RFID chip comes up on your state's DMV menu of options.

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