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The Identification Security Enhancement Act (S.717/H.R. 1117)

The Identification Security Enhancement Act is a bi-partisan bill introduced by John Sununu (R-NH) and Daniel Akaka (D-HI) in the Senate and Tom Allen (D-ME) in the House. The IDSEA would repeal the controversial national ID card sections contained in the Real ID Act, and replace it with a workable program for improving identity security in the United States. Real ID has already been rejected by 21 state legislatures—11 of which have passed statutory bans on implementing Real ID—and Congress has repeatedly shied away from efforts to resuscitate the measure.

The Identification Security Enhancement Act:

  • Restores the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report for identification security. The bill will reinstate Section 7212 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which implemented the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Real ID subverted these recommendations in the interest of cheap political gain.
  • Brings all critical stakeholders back to the table to discuss identification security. The bill will re-convene a group of “negotiated rule makers” to develop workable, secure standards for improving license and ID card security. Included in this group will be state licensing offices, state elected officials, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security, security experts, privacy advocates, and experts on civil liberties.
  • Protects Americans’ fundamental rights to privacy and due process. The bill would ensure that personally identifiable information on the card is encrypted, establish due process rights for challenging database errors, prevent the private sector ‘skimming’ of personal information, and respect state privacy laws that protect New Yorkers’ privacy.
  • Builds the capacity for even more secure driver’s licenses standards. The bill will give New York State additional regulatory flexibility to quickly produce tamper- and counterfeit-resistant driver’s licenses.
  • Respects federalism principles by restoring states’ power to determine to whom to grant state driver’s licenses. The bill would protect New York’s right to set criteria determining what categories of individuals are eligible to receive a State license or ID card.
  • Needs the support of New York’s Congressional delegation. Currently the bill has 38 co-sponsors in the House and six co-sponsors in the Senate with only two New York representatives co-sponsoring. As a national leader on security needs and civil liberties, New York’s lawmakers must strongly support the Identity Security Enhancement Act.

The Real ID Act establishes a national ID card that threatens Americans’ privacy and pocketbooks. It is time to put this nightmare of a federal program to rest once and for all and pass the Identification Security Enhancement Act, which will provide for a workable plan to develop secure driver’s licenses while respecting Americans’ constitutional rights.

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