BIOMETRICS & DEADLINES IN LIGHT OF THE PASS ACT
At the end of 2009, States face a 2nd DHS extension deadline to comply with federal Real ID regulations. Since June 1, 2009, DHS has been aggressively pushing biometric identifiers in State ID cards, commercial worker cards, and any form of travel ID cards to conform with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The use of biometrics in ID cards has been a historic sticking point with privacy and identity security advocates on both sides of the "immigration” debate.
Government technology vendors, like Digimarc and L-1 Biometrics subsidiaries, aggressively clamor to fulfill contracts on the basis of federal law in a stretched economy. Some vendors have gone as far a threat of legal suit over States non-compliance to fulfill Real ID Act regulations.
Biometrics is one of the most heavily argued matters in State legislatures. Considering the whopping price tag of itemized Real ID regulations, biometric incorporation seem to be within reach with some federal grant funding available. DHS continues to push for biometrics on the auspices of the Real ID Act and 9-11 Commission recommendations. State governments have been torn between those who seek out the benefits of a secured drivers license and those who raise issues of privacy and the 4th Amendment.