May 17

The “Real I.D.” Rebellion: 10 Years Out


Ten years ago, in 2005, Congress passed “Real ID.” Congress gave states three years to begin issuing driver’s licenses according to federal standards which emphasized biological identification. The Real ID Act required states to build vast new computer-data infrastructures, with machine-readable technology for all drivers licenses. Biometric identifiers–fingerprints, eyeball imaging or facial-recognition technology–was to become part of driver licensing.

There was, however, a massive “REAL ID Rebellion” in 2006. People back home revolted, and many state legislatures passed resolutions condemning Real I.D. and pronouncing that they (the revolting states) would not comply.

Today, the rebellion is mostly forgotten, and the Department of Homeland Security has mostly managed to implement Real ID without so much as a whimper from the public in at least 5 years.