TSA is taking its turn at ruling America. No, this is not a joke. The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) stated this week that after January 22, 2018, they will no longer accept as valid identification to fly driver’s licenses as they are currently printed from five states and one U.S. territory. Why? Because they do not meet REAL ID standards as passed into law in 2005.
The Homeland Security department, which overseas the TSA, said it would begin enforcing a post-Sept. 11 law that directs federal agencies to only accept state-issued identifications that meet federal security standards that were enacted in 2005.
What do those State ID requirements entail. Per Wikipedia:
A Real ID-compliant form of identification requires the following pieces of data:
- Full legal name,
- Date of birth,
- Unique, identifying number,
- Principal residence address,
- Front-facing photograph of the applicant.
Said cards must also feature specific security features intended to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes. These cards must also present data in a common, machine-readable format (bar codes, smart card technology, etc.). Although the use of wireless RFID chips was offered for consideration in the proposed rulemaking process, it was not included in the latest rulemaking process. DHS could consider additional technological requirements to be incorporated into the licenses after consulting with the states. In addition, DHS has required the use of RFID chips in its Enhanced Driver’s License program, which the Department is proposing as an alternative to REAL ID.
As of this writing, per the REAL ID rules as interpreted by the TSA, driver’s licenses from the following states have to be redone.
- New Mexico
- Washington state
- American Samoa
Naturally, this writer’s state is on the list. (We don’t have chips or smartcard technology, but otherwise it’s all there.) This does not mean that Americans bearing driver’s licenses from these states are barred from air travel within the country. Passports are accepted, as are passport cards, military IDs, Global Entry cards, federally recognized tribal photo IDs and airport issued IDs – just not driver’s licenses or state identification cards without this information.
Minnesota, at least, is offering driver’s licenses that comply with REAL ID standards for an additional fee. Missouri’s state legislature is due to debate the issue this week. New Mexico is looking for a fix. The other two states are breathing easier after the reprieve was granted as TSA could have forced compliance much earlier.
Driver’s licenses, and how they are constructed and what information is on them, traditionally has been left to the states. This action can be construed as an overreach or power and a violation of the separation of powers from the Department of Homeland Security. It also can be considered bowing to the people who want a national ID card. If all that’s different about driver’s licenses is the state and the order of info, that’s a fait accompli. Too bad these state photo IDs won’t be required to vote.