Many opponents of the Real-ID program are celebrating a small victory as Nevada, one of the first states to adopt the measure, halts their use of the licenses, AOL News reports. The Real-ID Act faces strident opposition from groups who claim that the new IDs, which are enhanced with added security measures, violate privacy and increase the risk of identity theft, according to AOL News.
Nevada governor Jim Gibbons enacted a temporary trial period for the new licences. However, that period recently expired and lawmakers do not have the support needed to pass the new legislation into law, the website reports. The Real ID Act of 2005 originally aimed to strengthen the security of state identification in order to reduce the incidence of terrorist activities.
In order to obtain a license under the act, residents are required to provide two forms of identification and proof of residency, AOL News reports. The license would then be equipped with anti-counterfeiting features, the website reports. Opponents fear that the adoption of the new changes will establish a national database of personal information that may be accessible to numerous organizations, according to the website.
"There were diverse groups speaking out against Real ID because of the privacy implications, because of the threat to due process, because of the exorbitant costs. It would create a de facto national ID card with national standards and national requirements," the American Civil Liberties Union's Rebecca Gasca told AOL News.
Privacy activists also feel that the risk of identity theft may be heightened by the adoption of a de facto national identity card. Victims of identity theft spend a great deal of time and money contacting credit agencies to report the crime and proving to financial institutions that fraudulent purchases were indeed committed by a criminal. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a criminal's ability to obtain a counterfeit Real ID under another's name may make it more difficult to prove that they are the victim of identity theft. The perception of Real IDs as being too secure to be counterfeit could complicate the process of identity recovery, the PRC said.
Many states are making changes to their licences to make them more secure and legitimate. Identity theft affects millions of Americans each year and privacy advocates are concerned that the increased accessibility of personal information held in large databases may make citizens more vulnerable to crime.