Identity thieves should support the Real ID Act. The law would provide them the means to inflict greater harm under less risk than ever before. Here's why:
  • The Real ID Act would amass oceans of personal information on Americans, including digital copies of their Social Security cards, birth certificates, bank statements and other personal documents, into a single national database network. Armed with copies of these documents, identity thieves could wreak havoc on their victims, who would have greater difficulty recovering their identities.

  • The information stored in the database network would be only as secure as the DMV office with the weakest security or least trustworthy staff in the nation. A single breach in the system could compromise the personal information and documents of 250 million Americans.

  • The government has a lousy record securing our personal information. In May 2006, a laptop computer containing the birthdates and Social Security numbers of millions of people was stolen from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee. The employee had violated department procedure by bringing the laptop home -- a simple mistake that put millions of people's identities at risk.

  • Thousands of fraudulent driver's licenses have been procured by bribing state officials involved in identity theft rings. For example, a 2003 crackdown on corruption throughout New Jersey's DMV system produced more than 100 arrests and the firing of the top managers of 28 of the state's 45 DMV offices.

  • The government can try to make forgery more expensive, but it cannot stop it. Fraudulent Real IDs would be extremely difficult to detect, giving identity thieves incentive to obtain one. The law could trigger an even more lucrative black market in phony ID documents.

  • The DHS has required that the machine-readable zone required on Real IDs cannot be designed with data encryption techniques to protect Americans' privacy. This will allow businesses to skim people's personal information, which could be sold to data brokerage companies that compile, buy and sell information about people. These companies have a lousy track record of securing data and have been caught selling their data to identity thieves.