As a last minute addition to a supplemental spending bill, Congress last week passed the Real ID Act. The law requires states to demand more documentation before issuing driver’s licenses and other government-issued identification. The cards must also be "machine readable". Supporters of the legislation say it will make it harder for the bad guys to get these ID cards while still protecting the rights of us good guys.


One security expert points out that some of the people responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001 would still have qualified for licenses under the new rules. Others predict this is just the first step towards having a national identification card since it gives the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to "unilaterally add requirements as he sees fit". The fact that the machine readable card will hold your information in a standardized format also makes it easier to create the national information database some "leaders" have lusted after for years.

The Real ID law isn’t supposed to take full effect for three years. In the meantime, watch carefully what happens with this and similar laws. Considering the folks running the show these days, it’s not paranoid to imagine waking up some day with far fewer freedoms.